Many people want to visit Europe at some point during their lifetime. There is a place in Korea where you can easily actualize your desire and add some spice to your daily life. Petite France is a theme park with many French-style buildings, flowers and Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). It is located in Gapyeong, near Nami-island, and is a famous destination for many couples. Contrary to the typical sights and sounds of Korea, Petite France can provide some fresh and unforgettable experiences.
▲ Petite band playing music in the amphitheater
Directions to Petite France
You can get to Petite France using the Gyeongchun subway line or the ITX-Chungchoon train. I personally recommend you to take the ITX because it is much faster than the subway and you can see more scenery during your journey more comfortably. It takes about 35 minutes from Cheongnyangni to Cheongpyeong Station. When you arrive at Cheongpyeong Station, you can easily take a return shuttle bus to the garden of Morning Calm for 5,000 won. The bus drives through a scenic route that allows you to see not only Petite France, but also Nami-island, Jara-island and the Bukhan River. If you come driving your own car, you should use the rear gate to enter the park. The entrance fee is 8,000 won for adults, 6,000 won for teenagers and 5,000 won for children younger than 10 years old.
▲ Antique orgel, kettle and statue of Le Petit Prince
Journey in Petite France
There are many things to see in Petite France. First, this place is famous in Korea for its beautiful and exotic scenery. You can feel like you are in some village in France just by walking around Petite France. If you want to enjoy the performance like marionette performances and magic mimes, etc, you should take a look at the performance schedule before you visit.
When I first entered Petite France, fortunately, I could see the Petite band playing their instruments in the amphitheater. I took a photo of them because I am interested in band music and they were exceptional musicians. People were excited when the bands played their songs on the stage. After I finished watching the bands, I moved on to Orgel House checking my watch to make sure I could see as many performances as possible. An orgel is a kind of music box. Orgel House is a small museum that displays many different kinds of orgels from France. The next place was the Puppet Theater. Unfortunately, I could not see the play with Guignol, a traditional hand puppet, because of my schedule. Instead, I saw a magic mime show. The performer said, “Magic mime is a new word that is the combination of two performances: magic and mime.” The show was fantastic and as part of the performance, one audience member was beaten with a newspaper and sprayed with a water gun by the performer. After that, I rushed back to the amphitheater to see a marionette performance. Since there were many people ranging from children to seniors, I could see the marionette performance’s popularity. The marionettes danced liked humans to Gangnam Style while they hung on string by their legs and arms.
▲ The puppet theater and a magic mime performer
After I watched the marionette performance, I walked along the road and looked at many beautiful buildings in Petite France. There were many statues all over Petite France that appeared in the book written by Saint-Exupery, including Le Petit Prince. Then I went to the observatory where I could overlook Petite France from one spot. There was a lot of graffiti on the wall left by many couples. Then, I went to a restaurant for lunch and was a little disappointed because of the prices and the menu itself. They were quite expensive in that all averaged over 10,000 won but only had simple items like omelets and spaghetti. After lunch, I went to the conductor’s room from the MBC Drama ‘Beethoven Virus.’ In the drama, the place is used as Maestro Kang’s office, so I saw a lot of music CDs, scores, a piano and many ornaments. Some people actually sat in Kang’s chair and posed like he did in the drama. On the room’s second floor, a DVD of Beethoven Virus was played continuously.
▲ A woman marionette pretending to be singing
Finally, I visited the Saint-Exupery Memorial Hall. It was established for Saint-Exupery who wrote books such as Le Petit Prince, and inspired the opening of Petite France. Not just an author but also a pilot, Saint-Exupery loved to fly to many different places. However, he disappeared during his last flight on July 31, 1944.
▲ The scenery of Kang’s office and score
I took the shuttle bus back to Cheongpyeong Station with many good feelings. As a university student, I am usually exhausted with my daily routine of attending classes, doing homework and writing reports. Therefore, I wanted to refresh myself by traveling. Petite France is commonly recommended for many couples; however, it is not a bad place to visit alone. Petite France has many exotic things, a fresh and European atmosphere and beautiful scenery to enjoy. If you want to take a break from typical Korean views or want to make an unforgettable memory with your significant someone, visiting Petite France is a good choice that will satisfy everyone.