Tag Archives: cheongpyeong

Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) in Korea

Settled in a beautiful environment and only sixty kilometres from downtown Seoul, Petite France is an interesting place for a short stop on your way to Gapyeong or Nami Island

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Petite France is an artificially-made village inspired by European style built in a beautiful and pristine natural area between Cheongpyeong Dam and Nami Island. Located on the busy touristic road to Gapyeong, Nami Island or Garden of Morning Calm, Petite France is usually quite crowded especially during the weekend afternoons.

The concept of the village is to bring European feeling and atmosphere accompanied with cultural experience programs and performances (street flea market with European antiques, melodies from the Orgel and marionette performances). The main theme of the village being  Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince, the statues and paintings of the young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid can be seen almost everywhere.


The village atmosphere with its colourful little houses gained popularity among filmmakers and Petite France became the filming place of many Korean TV dramas and entertainment programs. Today many Asian tourists are visiting to eagerly revive the scenes of “Beethoven Virus” ,“Personal Taste”, “My Love from the Star”, “Secret Garden”, “Running Man” and others.

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On Petite France official website, you will find the exhaustive list of exhibitions and things to do in the village. If you are really craving for an authentic European experience, just don’t expect too much. The first impressions of the site are pleasant and the views of the surroundings are amazing (particularly the view from the observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing. Most of the exhibits are a poor display of mismatched, kitschy and fake objects pretending to be part of European or French heritage. Another weak point in our opinion is that there is no restaurant (better said there used to be one but it closed its doors). On a sunny day, the wooden deck of Petite Terrace would be the best place to enjoy a good meal while overlooking the Cheongpyeong Dam and the mountains. You can still buy a coffee and slice of pizza in the wooden booth but no hopes for a European style lunch.

 

Even if we were not fully ‘sold’ on the authenticity and European feel of Petite France, the village may be worth a stop if you are in the area and want to enjoy the beautiful nature with the mountains in the background – particularly now in a wide array of autumn colours.

If you are looking for a restaurant we tried Dakgalbi restaurant 성희네집 – located 5 km west from the village and loved it (경기도 가평군 청평면 고재길 86-297, tel: 031-584-3695)

 

Directions:

616 Gosung-Ri Gapyeong-Gun, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

경기도 가평군 청평면 고성리 616

Tel: 031-584-8200

Beware… returns back to Seoul during the weekend late afternoons or evenings can be very very crowded. On the shorter itinerary, the route 75 connecting to the Cheongpyeong-Geumnam section (route 46) can frequently be fully blocked. It took us more than an hour to make the first 15 kilometers. You may consider alternatively to take the longer way through Gapyeong connecting to Gangchon IC. The full trip will be longer, approximately 110 km, but it might be faster if traffic on the Chuncheon-Seoul Highway 60 itself is fluid.

Opening hours:

09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing)
* Seasonally late night opening hours can be extended

Admission:

Adults: 8,000 won
Teenagers (Middle & High School Students): 6,000 won
Children (ages 3-Elementary School Students): 5,000 won
Seniors (ages 65 & above) / People with Disabilities: 6,000 won

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Cheongpyeong Temple (청평사) by boat across the Soyang Dam Reservoir (소양강댐)

Arguably one of the most impressive day trip from Seoul, Cheongpyeong Temple and the Soyang Dam area combine beautiful vistas, boat trip, gentle hiking, magnificent mountain panorama, waterfall and the delicious Chuncheon spicy speciality: Dakgalbi.

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Known as Korea’s Lake Country, Chuncheon region is a wonderful getaway from busy Seoul. Whithin 2 hours drive (or also reachable by public transportation), you will first reach the Soyang dam parking area about 15 km away from Chuncheon center. From there, walk uphill for a few hundred meters, until reaching the Dam itself. Be warned: this is the largest rock-filled dam in the whole Asia ! Absolutely impressive and worth the many pictures you will want to take from above!

After the dam, head towards the Ferry pier and hop on a boat for Cheongpyeong Temple (청평사). The short ride itself is both fun and beautiful. The trip will take you to one of the Soyang Reservoir branches, which reminded us of a Scandinavian fjord.

Once you arrive on the other side of the reservoir, walk across the restaurants-filled alley and continue uphill towards the temple. The walk is medium level with scenic views such as the beautiful Guseong Waterfall, the Yeongji pond and other mountainous panoramas.

Cheongpyeong Temple itself was first built in 973 AD; it has been damaged several times over the centuries but luckily magnificently restored in recent years. We enjoyed a lot the whole experience: the harmonious layout of the temple buildings, the streams and fountains, the autumn-colored forests and the rocky cliffs of the mountain!

In the Chuncheon Region, you may also check our other posts: Nami Island, Jaraseom Island, Jade Garden and Elysian Ski Resort.

Admission Fee:

Ferry (Soyang Dam → Cheongpyeongsa Temple dock)
Round-trip: Adults: 6,000 won / Children: 4,000 won

Temple: Adults: 2,000 won / Youths: 1,200 won / Children: 800 won

How to get there:

Across from Chuncheon Station, take Bus 11 or 12 to Soyang Dam (소양강댐).
From Soyang Dam Dock, take a ferry to Cheongpyeongsa Temple (청평사).
Cheongpyeongsa Temple (청평사) is a 30~60min walk from the dock.

For localization, go to Seoul Map for Kids & Families.