“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Can you guess what book this famous line is from? The Little Prince, of course!
In Gyeonggi-do in South Korea, there is a theme park dedicated to this book and its author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry along with other things French – Petite France. The park is also popular as filming location of some Korean soap opera and entertainment programs such as Secret Garden, Running Man and Beethoven Virus among others.
From Insa-dong we took the one-and-a-half-hour train ride to Cheongpyeong Station and from there we boarded the Gapyeong Tour Bus for a scenic ride along the Cheongpyeong Lake to Petite France. For 6,000 won, you can get a one-day unlimited ride in the Gapyeong Tour bus which can take you around Gapyeong city including Petit France, Nami Island, Jaraseom Island and Garden of Morning Calm.
The park itself is not very big and it is good for a slow-pace out of town day trip. It is located by the Cheongpyeong Lake and you can have good views of the lake from the park. If you prefer to stay overnight, the park also offers accommodation in its guest house.
Below is a map of the park I took from the park’s official site.
There are several interesting areas in the park but my favourites are as follows:
- Saint-Exupéry Museum
This is where you can find a wide collection of all things Little Prince (Little Price fan over here!).
Although there are references to the Little Prince around the park, the main concentration is in this museum. There are a lot of information about the author Antoine de Saint- Exupéry , translated copies of the book in different languages, and life size illustrations of certain parts of the book. They also have a life size translation of the book in Korean.
- Marionette House
A bit creepy, I should say, especially if there are no other people in the museum. It’s like they are going to talk anytime and break the glass out of their cupboards. It is like a horror movie where the dolls’ eyes follow you wherever you are.
- Antiques Museum
In this museum, you cannot move too fast and you can only make small movements otherwise you have greater risk of destroying something. They have very well crafted and dainty breakables. Pray you don’t break anything or the witches will chase after you!
Strolling around Petite France is very relaxing and gives a very different feel compared to that of Seoul, not bad for an 8,000 won entrance fee. But considering the size of the park, I do not see the need to stay overnight unless you plan to visit some other locations in the area like Nami Island (see my post about Nami Island here).
Checking out the current website, it seems there have been a lot of changes since I went there. If you are planning to go anytime soon, I suggest visiting their website to help you in planning.