Yesterday was a celebration of France. My friends and I ventured to Gapyeong to see Le Petite France, a cute theme park inspired by the classic children's book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
This area is well known for its cameos in Korean Dramas. It is featured most recently in My Love from the Star, but it has also been in Secret Garden and Beethoven's Virus. They even had a poster with all the Korean Dramas it had been featured in, as well as photo spots that were filmed in Korean Dramas featuring the characters! There was also a TV playing behind the scenes footage of the famous kiss scene in My Love from the Star. I also discovered that you can stay here in a hotel and see the place at night, which I plan to do next weekend, along with a trip to Nami island (another Kdrama hotspot).
The colorful houses were modeled after common structures in Europe, from Germany to the Mediterranean, and the gardens feature European statues and works of art. There are a few shops and stands, including one that serves Belgian waffles. One of the houses is a museum dedicated to The Little Prince, and it chronicles Antoine de Saint-Exupery's travels with many displays. One room had an entire wall of all the different languages that The Little Prince had been published in.
The Little Prince is really popular here, perhaps because the story is a reflection of life's travels and what you learn from them. They even made The Little Prince comic book and TV show where the prince travels around the universe helping aliens in need. Other fairytales were displayed in the village including Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Pinocchio.
We walked around the village and took lots of pictures of the paintings, scenery and gardens. I found a gift shop in the fountain plaza that sold lots of The Little Prince merchandise, but it also sold antique dolls and some Studio Ghibli figurines.
All in all it was a fun place to see, and just as pretty as I had expected from its cameos in Korean Dramas.
A note on getting there: According to the website, you can buy a tour that features Petite France (but they're a tad pricy for a backbacker) I recommend taking the subway or ITX to Gapyeong station, then taking the bus (which runs from 8:30 to 5:30 pm) which costs 5,000 won (but you have the ticket for the whole day). The bus can also take you to Nami Island and The Garden of Morning Calm if you want to go to all three.
The ticket price is 8,000 won for adults and 6,000 won for kids.
After our tour of Petite France, we decided to watch La Belle et La Bete so it was truly a French experience :) We were just missing actual crepes!