If you are living in Korea or traveling there, you might want to get some fresh air and escape to a place that might remind you of some European landscapes. Look no further, “Petite France” is for you! This small mountain village in the north of Seoul was inspired by French villages, mainly located in the northern “Alsace” region and the southern “Côte d’Azur” region. In addition, a year ago, next to Petite France, an Italian-style villa was opened.
Let’s take a look at Petite France and its secrets!
1. Pinocchio and Da Vinci
Pinocchio & Da Vinci is the curious name given to the Italian village at the top of the mountain. Dedicated mainly to the fairy tale Pinocchio, it helps to discover the story of the wooden boy. Most of the streets are lined with pink and orange buildings that you can visit. You’ll find a room dedicated to Venetian masks that you can try on and some Italian furniture that you can buy.
On every corner, some puppets and Pinocchio statues remind you where you are, and you can also watch a puppet show! During our daily trip to the village, we were able to watch a Fredy Mercury puppet show! Next to the show, a cafe and restaurant to offer some Italian delicacies if you are hungry or thirsty. Plus they are also a gift shop if you want to bring a souvenir!
The best point of this village is its view! You can see a beautiful lake from the top of the mountain and the Petite France below Pinocchio and Da Vinci. As we were there in December, some Christmas decorations lit up the place in the center of the village. And if you look closely, even the big clock has a Pinocchio drawing on it! This kind of tiny detail gives this place more charm.
Although the weather was quite cold, we could enter all the buildings to warm up and discover more Italian spots. In one of the buildings you can read about Pinocchio in many languages including English, Italian, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc. You can sit between puppets or the blue fairy.
High above the village, a gondola awaits even more photos. During the summer, no doubt this place must be beautiful with the water and the flowers around it. Some buildings around this place display paintings and statues, to have a look at the famous Italian art. One street is even dedicated to gramophones if you like listening to music. Also, there is some Da Vinci art!
You can discover more photos and events about Pinocchio and Da Vinci on his Instagram here.
2. Little France
Petite France is the main attraction of this place. It develops around the “Little Prince”, a famous novel by the French author Saint Exupery. Much older than the Italian village, they didn’t change the name of this place to include Pinocchio and Da Vinci, so people still know this place, regardless of Italy or France, as Petite France.
While in Italy you can find puppets, in France clowns are the protagonists of the village, excluding the Little Prince. As you’d expect, there’s also a small reproduction of the Eiffel Tower, and a gift shop should you want to take home some keychains or music boxes dedicated to the Little Prince, and you can visit sixteen French-style buildings, much like the Italians.
In one room you can learn more about French musical instruments such as organs. In another, some paintings are being exposed to be immersed in the south of France, between Lavender and cafes. Then, take some time to look at the sculptures and paintings of the Gallic Cock, France’s national symbol. Let us know in the comment below what your country’s animal or national symbol is!
You can enjoy walking around this village for 2 hours, 3 hours if you want to stop at a restaurant or a bistro. It’s a magical place for kids, especially if you want to introduce them to European arts and architecture. If you like china dolls or cutlery, be sure to explore each building! This place is especially popular with young Korean couples or people who want some photos for their Instagram or Twitter.
Finally, one of the buildings is dedicated to traditional French games, such as table football and petanque, which are famous in the south of France. Looking at the snow around the village definitely gives this place a more dreamy vibe! During the visit, you can sit in the open-air theater, and there is a stamping activity: if you collect more than 5 Pinocchio & Da Vinci and Petite France stamps, you will receive a postcard as a souvenir!
You can discover more photos and events about Petite France on her Instagram here.
3. Appearance on TV
As famous as this village is, it has appeared in quite a few K-Dramas and TV shows! In fact, some scenes were filmed there for “Beethoven virus“, “secret Garden“, “Personal taste“, “my star love“and the show”Hall“.
If you want to discover this cute little village for yourself, you can take the subway to Cheongpyeong station and take bus 30-5 or local bus Gapyeong Circle. Although the 30-5 bus might be faster, we recommend taking the shuttle bus if you want to discover more attractions during the day, such as Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong Rail Bike, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm.
If you want to know more about this place, check the official website here, and tell us what you think about this village!