Tag Archives: Korean Drama

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observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing.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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Achasan Mountain Hike and Goguryeo Blacksmith Village

Spectacular family hiking very close from Seoul city center, including temple sightseeing, beautiful mountain and Han river landscape… not to mention a great exhibition in the made-for-drama Blacksmith Village

Last week-end we discovered another gem easily accessible by subway, bus or with your car (about 30 minutes from Seoul Station). Fantastic nature and medium-difficulty trails just at the immediate vicinity to the urban center: this is Seoul at its best!

Located on the Eastern part, along the northern shore of Han River – just passing by the Walkerhill Sheraton Hotel, Achasan Mountain is approximately 300 meters high ‘only’. Still, it is topped with quite impressive granite cliffs which reminded us the higher and better known Bukhansan mountain.

Daeseongam Temple Recommended 2km walk one way (allow approximately 1.5 hours for return trip with little kids)

You can start your walk from the parking lot located in front of Goguryeo Blacksmith Village. Crossing a small stream, you can follow the trail to Deaseongam Temple on your right climbing a few wooden stairs first. You will soon reach a local landmark: the Achasan Great Stone Face. A stunning face-like shape made from rocks. The place is said to be filled with strong feng-shui. So don’t forget to wish for good fortune!

Continue up the hill, passing various granite formations and streams. You will reach the small and nicely located Daeseongam Temple. It is a perfect spot for observing the Han River from above and to have a snack before going back. Our kids were also fascinated with the collection of small Buddha statues from various origins. They can be found directly on your left when you reach the temple gate. Get your camera ready for great close-up shots!

Fun Walk through Achasan trails, forest and wooden stairs

On your way back, you may loop through another walking road going back to Goguryeo starting point. It is quite an easy walk especially on the prepared wooden path & stairways. However the upper section was a bit slippery last week-end due to snow on the ground and it was sometimes getting a bit icy… We recommend having good walking/trekking shoes. For kids under 5-6 years, it may be a bit challenging especially if they are not used to regular nature walks.

History and Korean drama at Goguryeo Museum and Blacksmith Village

A final visit to this medieval looking village is highly recommended. It is both entertaining for kids and adults as well as providing great historical information about the area. A small museum introduces the significance of the Goguryeo Dynasty and the fortification built on that location. Artifacts, earthenware and iron goods are on display.

The rest of the village was reconstituted for the Korean TV Drama Taewangsashingi. It is freely inspired from housings shown on an ancient Goguryeo Mural. You can visit various houses, see a blacksmith workshop, take pictures from the giant mill-wheel.

We will surely return to test more trail routes in Achasan mountain!

How to get there:

Public Transportation: Subway Line 5 Gwangnaru Station, then Take a bus heading to Guri – get off at Uminae checkpoint and walk about 10 minutes towards Goguryeo Village.

By Car: see direction on map

Admission:

3,000 KRW adults / 1,500 KRW children 8-13

Opening hours:

9h-18h weekdays, 9h-19h week-ends & holidays

Nov-Feb 9h-17h weekdays, 9h-18h week-ends & holidays

Baeksasil Valley and Buam-dong walk

nature in Seoul - Baeksasil Buam-dongLast week-end we discovered another amazing place to visit with kids. Inspired by Goneseoulsearching blog, we decided to explore the area of Buam-dong. This peaceful village located north of Bugaksan, east of Ingwansan, and south of Bukhansan is actually listed of many Korean Drama Tours.

Sanmotoonge cafe

When you start your walk at Changuimun you immediately feel like being in the countryside. Take the narrow streets and enjoy the calm and the colors. There are many small galleries and coffee shops in the village but the most famous and the most visited and photographed one is without any doubt the Sanmotoonge Gallery&Cafe. It’s actually a great break for a coffee and a cheese cake. Your kids will be more then happy to bike the old style rusted tricycle while you can enjoy your coffee on their beautiful terrace with the best view of the surrounding mountains.Baeksasil Buam-dong

Baeksasil Buam-dong map
Map of the area. Click to enlarge.

After this wonderful break just continue on the main road and follow the sign to the Baeksasil Valley. Baeksasil Valley is a beautiful and natural forest with many different trails. You can follow the streams while listening to the birds and let your kids running around.  The sceneries are just amazing. Lee Hang-bok, a prime minister from the Joseon dynasty, built a villa in the central area of the valley. This spot with remaining cornerstone of the building and some stones from his pond is very popular for picnics.

How to get there:

Take the bus No. 0212, 1020, and 7022 at Exit 3 of Subway Line 3, Gyeongbokgung Station and get off at Buamdong Community Center or Jahamun-gogae bus stop.

Sanmotoonge Gallery - Buam-dong