Most people seem to equate foreigners specifically with areas like Itaewon, but with a little looking you’ll find places that are far more unique and interesting.
It’s estimated that there are around 500 French people living in Seorae Village, but they must have been hiding behind the croissants or something because I didn’t see them. The entire time we were there, we saw maybe 7 people who may have been French, but I can only confirm that 2 of them were actually French. Now I know how Koreans feel when they go to Itaewon specifically to see and meet foreigners, only to be disappointed with what they find. However, for what the neighborhood lacked in actual French people it made up for with atmosphere, charm, plenty of brunch options and what I’m pretty sure is my new favorite place in Seoul, the Paris Croissant bakery.
Unlike other Paris Croissant bakeries in Korea this one had a more authentic feeling. I was completely overwhelmed by the smell of fresh bread, pastries, cookies, both buttery and sweet, and blueberry tarts that did not disappoint. I realized I had to come up with a strategy because buying one of everything was not an option. I surveyed the area and made a plan ……to come back. I couldn’t decide everything at that one moment and besides there was brunch to be had. My friend Hassan was with me that day and the time left for brunch was running out. We agreed to come back before we left.
After looking around at a few places we finally sat down at a really cute restaurant called “Merci”, that unfortunately only had two brunch options, French Toast and Banana French Toast. The Banana French Toast was actually just mushed up banana in the middle of the bread but I still enjoyed it.The brunch also included bacon,an egg, some salad, beans and a tiny apple.
Not everything in the neighborhood is French. For example this atrocity:
But the overall feeling of the area was definitely not like the rest of Korea. It kind of reminded me of Macau. Macau is a former Portuguese colony not far from Hong Kong and much of that European style still exists in different forms around the island, but just about everyone living there is of Chinese descent. In that same way there was a lot of French style and French things in Seorae Village, but minus the 7 people I mentioned earlier, everyone there was Korean. I was surprised that we didn’t see any French style hotels or hostels either. I guess they don’t have a lot of family visiting them over here.
Just walking around the village and looking in all the shops is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Before leaving we returned to Paris Croissant and I was somehow able to restrain myself and stick to baked goods, even though the basement floor was stocked with french cheese, chocolate and wine. If this is how it is for me in the bakery of the French Village, I can only imagine the madness that will take place when I am in the actual country of France . (One day – fingers crossed!).
I highly recommend the French Village for those of you interested in a relaxing place that makes you feel like you’re on a mini-vacation, but is still accessible by subway.
How to get there:
Go out at exit 5 of the Express Bus Terminal which is on line 3, 7 and 9. When you get out go straight down the path that looks like this.
Then you will eventually come to an overpass – cross it and then go to the corner where you will look up and see this sign.
Follow the direction of the arrow and just keep going straight. Eventually you’ll see some French signs like this. Have fun!
Stay tuned for my profiles on similar areas like the Russian Village and Nigeria Street.