Scent of Home: Le Petit France in Seoul
Scent of Home: Le Petit France in Seoul
  • 임리영 기자
  • 승인 2005.11.02 00:00
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▲ Photo by Lim Rhie-young. These cherubic little fellows were spotted walking towards the French school.

   As soon as the clock ticks four, little children come storming out of the main entrance. This is a sight that usually needs no explanation if you are standing in front of an elementary school among parents waiting to pick their children up at the end of the school day. But hold on. These are not just ordinary Korean youngsters with black hair and dark eyes, but students of diverse ethnicities. A second glimpse at the horde of students speaking in chic French accents tells you that this is actually a French school in the middle of Seoul.
   Oh, this must be the picturesque Little France, otherwise known as the "Montmartre of Seoul." It is located in the Suhrae Village of Bangbaedong (ten minutes from exit seven of the Seoul Express Bus Terminal Subway Station, line number three).
   Since 1985, when the French School moved from Hannam-dong to Suhrae Village, many French residents moved to this area, and now more than 800 French residents live in Suhrae Village. Naturally, the tightly-knit French population has made this place uniquely French. From Suhrae-ro to Bangbae Middle School, the boardwalk is painted red, white, and blue, the colors of the French flag. The names of restaurants like Petit Four, also give the aura of a French village. The winery is a place for French wine-lovers to acquire their exquisite wines for a romantic dinner. Also, for people who want a dinner out, various French restaurants that serve delectable pasta dishes and steaks await them in Suhrae Village.
   Annette Garnier (37), a French mother whose children attend the French school, was spotted ordering a breakfast in Gourmet de Coffee. "The French Village here is always very comforting because there are people I can relate to," said Ms. Garnier.
   A scent of fresh baguette and the familiar French accents all over the Suhrae Village make home no longer a longed-for place. Farewell, homesickness. The little French Montmartre is just around the corner.

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