“On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” "We only see the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye" The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Not every one ever heard about Petite France 쁘띠프랑스, a French cultural village located in the outskirt of Seoul. The village also serves as a youth training facility. Consisting of 16 French-style buildings, Petite France has been another tourist destination near Nami Island..
Petite France is accessible from Seoul via subway. The nearest station is Cheong Pyeong 청평. I stayed at Sinchon so I had to travel all the way to Wangsimni Station (Jungang line, light turquoise line), and change train to Cheong Pyeong 청평 (Gyeongchun line, turquoise line). From Cheong Pyeong 청평, there is a shuttle bus to Petite France from the station.
The journey took about 1 hour and 30 minutes, faster compared to my journey to Nami Island and easy too… At Cheong Pyeong Station, I was a bit worry that I would take the wrong shuttle bus. Not only me, but there were also other tourists looking confused.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, a shuttle bus stopped in front of the subway station. The bus driver was nice and told us that his bus was going to Petite France. Another great thing was, we only need to pay one time then we’re free to take the bus as many times as we wanted for a whole day!
It was a 30-minutes bus journey and finally, we reached the village! The village was ‘petite’, suits its name. It is indeed a recreation of a typical village in Provence, even the buildings are colourfully painted. Not only tourists, but also locals like to bring their children to this Little Prince-themed park. In Korea, the story of the Little Prince is very popular amongst the little children.
The village is dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of the famous French novel, Le Petit Prince or Little Prince. We can find Little Prince traces in every corner of the village. Visitors can enter the galleries that exhibit antiques, dolls, instruments, paintings and Little Prince-related items. There is also guesthouses where visitors can lodge in.
There were stamps booth around. I didn’t know at first until I saw some children busy collecting the stamps on a white linen. I did not know that they provide the linen at the ticket booth. So I collected the stamps on a postcard I purchased. There were total of 10 stamps, but I only managed to collected 5 stamps.
There are also a Marionette performance, a dancing puppet show controlled by strings, a ‘Guignol’ (traditional French hand puppet show) or screening animation. In some parts of the village, there are a few notice boards showing those Korean dramas or variety shows and even the actors/actresses’ signatures. Petite France has been the filming location of ‘Beethoven Virus’ and ‘Secret Garden’ drama, ‘Running Man’ variety show and the most recent big-hit drama ‘You Who Came From the Stars’. I’m pretty sure afterwards, the number of foreign tourists visiting will increase.
After finished walking around and enjoying the colourful Petite France, I took the Gapyeong shuttle bus again to Cheongpyong Station and went back to Seoul. If you are interested in French culture or Little Prince is your childhood fantasy, you should visit this place.
Good luck and have fun!
Adults: 8,000 won / Group: 6,000 won
Youths: 6,000 won / Group: 5,000 won
Children: 5,000 won / Group: 4,000 won
* Group: 20 people or more
How to go there (from Seoul):
Take Seoul subway to Cheongpyeong Station 청평 (Gyeongchun line, turquoise line). Take Gapyeong circle tour bus from exit #2 and get off at Petite France.