I originally wanted to go to Gapyeong to visit Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm but scratched it off from my itinerary since it is far so I can just concentrate on exploring Seoul, but then I changed my mind AGAIN and went on with my previous plan. Ohhh the perks of travelling alone, you are your own boss and no one will scowl if you kept on revising and just do what you feel like doing. It was a spur-off-the-moment decision so I arrived at Gapyeong station quite late. I went straight to their tourist information center, grabbed pamphlets of the bus schedule, Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm (I will save Garden of the Morning Calm on my next visit, perhaps autumn this year or spring next year).
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Back in high school, we read about The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so I am curious about this place aside from the fact that a lot of my favorite Korean TV dramas such as Beethoven Virus, Secret Garden and My Love from the Star and the variety show such as Running Man were filmed here.
As the name implies, Petite France is a small French culture village which consists of colorful clusters of buildings which comprises of St. Exupery’s Memorial Hall, antique gallery, French traditional house gallery, fountain plaza, guignol theater, outdoor theater, and Orgel house. There is also a restaurant, an outdoor cafe, as well as an observatory. Near the entrance, you will easily find the outdoor theater. Namsan Tower is famous for its love locks, here in Petite France they have love bells.
Even as a child, I did not develop interest in playing dolls. I prefer furry stuffed toys or my pet dog over Barbie dolls. So when I went inside the House of European Dolls, I did not stay long because these kind of things sort of scares me and they remind me of Chucky, but for the sake of blogging, I still took pictures and hurriedly went out before I got paranoid that they will come to life and run after me haha!
Continuing my tour, I went to the fountain plaza where you will find St. Exupery Memorial Hall, Beyond store (a cosmetic brand being endorsed by Kim Soo Hyun of the famous My Love from the Star), a gift shop and a canteen.
During the time Running Man was filmed here with my favorite members of 2PM, Nichkhun and Taecyeon, I remembered Ji Hyo going to the observatory to find the Little Prince’s robe to complete the mission. I went inside out of curiosity and found paintings on the walls near the stairways.
There is also a miniature version of Eiffel Tower right next to the event hall. My favorite part of Petite France is near the outdoor theater where you will find assorted flowers at the bottom of the stairs amidst the backdrop of colorful buildings and my favorite statue would be that of the Little Prince standing on a globe while holding onto stringed birds. I took a couple more pictures before heading out for Nami Island. You can explore Petite France in just 30 minutes but if you want to do it leisurely including taking a break in their cafeteria or taking detailed pictures (because almost everything is picture-worthy!), one to two hours would be enough.Address: 1063, Hoban-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 가평군 청평면 호반로 1063
Operating Hours: 09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing.)
Admission Fees: 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 I got to there from Myeongdong to Gapyeong station ( I followed the instructions from www.myeongdong.org):
1) From Myeongdong station, I took line 4 train heading to Chungmuro station to get to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station.
2) From Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station, I changed to line 2 and took the train heading to Sindang station to get to Wangsimni station.
3) From Wangsimni station, I changed to Jungang line and took the train heading to Cheongnyangni to get to Mangu station.
4) From Mangu station, I changed to Kyeongchun line and took the train heading to Galmae station to get to Gapyeong station.
5) From Gapyeong station, I took the Gapyeong City Tour Bus to go to Petite France which is a very efficient option if you want to visit the major tourist attractions around the city for a minimal cost of only ₩6000. The loading and offloading area of the tour bus is just in front of the Tourist Information which you will easily see upon exiting Gapyeong Station.
If you arrived late like I did but still wanted to tour around, I suggest you go to Petite France first then Nami Island. That way, even if you will not be able to make it until the last bus schedule, at least you can take a taxi from Nami Island which would not cost much because it is very near the subway station.
It took 30 minutes from Gapyeong Station to Petite France but I enjoyed the scenery. I soaked in the sunlight as I enjoyed the beauty of nature surrounding us through the glass window. Hope you’ll enjoy your tour in Petite France.
I hope the detailed instructions above have been helpful, please feel free to comment and share your experience too.
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