If you are headed to Nami Island, you might wish to stop at Petite France for a visit. Petite France lies along the lakeside road from Cheongpyeong Dam in the direction of Nami Island. If you travel along that road for about 10 km, you will see a cluster of white washed buildings to your left.
Petite France is well-known as a French Cultural Village that doubles up as a drama set for certain Korean dramas like Beethoven’s Virus ( 2008) , Secret Garden (2011) and Personal Taste ( 2009). The whole place consists of 16 French-style buildings and a youth training facility. Visitors can stay at their guest rooms for the night if they wish and experience a little French culture while they are at it.
This was the first place I stopped to take a look. The building is not that big but its content is worth your time seeing. Inside the building are displays of puppets, dolls, sculptures, paintings and many more trinkets. All their items are very French and very lovely. They even had a orchestrophone that works! There was a man who played it in front of the building and visitors can try it if they wish. The Gallery is located in front of the Amphitheater.
TRADITIONAL FRENCH RESIDENCE
This particular building is built to look like a very traditional French home. According my tour guide, the entire building is a reconstructed old French residence built two centuries ago and transferred from France to South Korea.
MAESTRO’S OFFICE OF DRAMA “BEETHOVEN VIRUS”
This area is one of the main filming location for Korean Drama “Beethoven Virus” which was released in 2008. The decor of the room is very french and they have kept the room almost identical to the one in the drama.
Orgel House is more of a room with a lot of music boxes of all kinds. They have chairs for visitors to sit and enjoy the music although visitors are not allowed to touch the music boxes, only the attendants are allowed to do so.
SAINT-EXUPERY MEMORIAL HALL
The Saint-Exupert Memorial hall can be found at the Foundation square cul-de-sac, quite close to the Orgel House. The building has three floors. The first floor displays pictures and panels about Saint-Exupery from his birth to his death. The second floor exhibits the works of Saint-Exupery such as Le Petit France and Vol de Nuit. On the third floor, the movie Le Petit France is played on-screen and visitors may sit down and watch if they wish.
Right in the middle of Petite France is an Amphitheater with a small stage which they use to conduct small performances. However, when I was there the amphitheater did not have any performances going on. I think the performances are scheduled at certain times during the day.
This is a normal hall with seating for around 200 people and equipped with sound equipment and lighting fixtures. The hall is mostly being used for concerts or performances although French movies are played on their screens occasionally.
The marionette theater is located in the middle of all the buildings. Here Guignol, a French traditional hand puppet show named after the show’s main character is performed. Marionette performances and screening animations are available too although there were not playing when I was visiting.
There are around 28 guest houses for approximately 120 people with each house having its own unique style and decor. The guest house is popular amongst those who wish to stay the night before proceeding to Nami Island or for those who cannot find accommodation at Nami Island as Petite France is only 20 minutes drive from Nami Island.
This is a restaurant or a cafe made up almost entirely to look like those you find in Europe. Currently, they are offering French and Korean Cuisine.
FOUNTAIN SQUARE CUL-DE-SAC
This is where the souvenir shop, coffee shop and concession shop is. I think the souvenir shop here is the only one in the entire place. The coffee shop sells ice cream and waffles as well so this is a good place to sit and relax.
I did not enter this particular building but it is said to house oil paintings.
Adults – 8000 won
Adolescents – 6000 won
Children – 5000 won
* 25% discount is given for groups of 20 or more people.
*Residents for the guest houses are not charged admission fees.
HOW TO GET TO PETITE FRANCE
It is important to know that there are no shuttle buses from Petite France itself. That said, the public bus and Gapyeong-City-Tour buses are available for tourists/visitors.
Take train for Chuncheon from Chengnyangri or Seoungbuk Station and get off at Cheong-Pyeong Station. Take Gapyeong-City-Tour bus to Petite France
Get on bus for Cheong-Pyeong terminal from Dong (East ) Seoul bus terminal and get off at Cheong-Pyeong terminal. Take public bus to Petite France.