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The Perfect Scenic Getaway: Heyri Art Valley and Provence Village

The beginning of November marks the end of autumn. Even with the increasingly cold weather, there is no doubt November is the perfect time to catch the last of the colorful fall foliage right before winter approaches. How about a visit to Heyri Art Valley and Provence Village with the Sungkyun Times (SKT)?

The Center of Culture and Art, Heyri Art Valley

About Heyri Art Valley

Heyri Art Valley, located in Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, is the largest artistic community and cultural district in Korea; the name “Heyri Art Valley” originates from a Korean song called Heyri Sounds. With the inaugural committee in 1998 marking the start of the valley, 380 artists including visual artists, musicians, and sculptors constructed a whole village by building dwellings, art studios, and museums. Heyri was officially appointed as a cultural district in 2009, the 3rd to become so after Seoul’s Daehak-ro and Insa-dong. As the town has been a favorite of Korean TV show-makers such as Boys over Flowers and My Love from the Star, it is one of the most visited places by tourists in Korea.

Heyri Art Valley

Ways to Visit Heyri Art Valley

Kingos from the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus should take bus No. 140 at Myeongyun 3-ga, Sungkyunkwan University Entrance, get off at Jung-gu Office, Duksu Middle School, and walk to Euljiro 4-ga Station to take the green subway line to Hapjeong Station. Then, take bus No. 2200 at exit 8 and get off at Heyri Gate 1. Kingos from the Natural Sciences Campus should take the blue subway line to Sindorim Station from the Sungkyunkwan University Station, then transfer to the green line to Hapjeong Station. The route is identical from then on.

A Tour Around Heyri Art Valley

1. The Village of Art and Architecture

Heyri is well known for its distinctive architecture, with all buildings designed and built to be three floors or less. Several maintenance rules in Heyri include the restriction of paint usage, which is not allowed for environmental reasons, and the prohibition of disorderly banners, which allows tourists to appreciate a pleasant, unobstructed view of the village. For instance, Adamas 253, a breakfast & lunch café famous for a scene in My Love from the Star, is often visited by architecture appreciators for its unique appearance. Moreover, there are private galleries at every corner, and different exhibitions are held every month. Although the town itself isn’t that big, artworks and sculptures are placed throughout the pavements, keeping tourists interested as they walk around. In front of the Cinema Museum, you can find a trick art mural of Audrey Hepburn or take a walk through the Eco Healing Road while enjoying sculptures propped around the path.

Adamas 253

Art and Nature

2. Entertaining Museums

The town is popular for its various types of museums, including the It’s Cola Museum, Cinema Museum, and World Doll Museum. The Cinema Museum, one of the most visited museums, is located beside Gate 1. Although it is not a professional museum where film history is explained, visitors can take photos with character sculptures from popular film franchises such as Star Wars and Terminator. There is also an area where you can mimic sound effects from movies using the provided tools. On the other hand, the It’s Cola (Coca-Cola) Museum has a souvenir shop on the 1st floor, and the museum itself lies underground. It allows visitors to take a look at the history of Coca-Cola as well as different limited-edition items.

*Although entrance tickets are also available for sale in each museum, there is a discount if you purchase multiple tickets at once in the Gate 1 ticket office.

** Most museums and coffee shops are closed on Mondays!

3. Barrier-free Sunset Hiking Trail

Lastly, the Barrier-free Sunset Hiking Trail is also a must-visit attraction. As the path was constructed based on universal design guidelines, the disabled, elderly, and families with strollers can access the trail easily due to the lack of steep stairs. A round trip to the trail takes about 40 minutes. About halfway into the trail starts a circular course called the “Snail Forest Road”, which leads to the very top of the hill. From the summit, you can take pictures with the pink muhly, a type of flower that is seen during fall. Also, as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) can be seen from the top of the mountain, there is a sculpture based on poems related to unification. The Sunset Hiking Trail, named after the beauty of the sunset viewed from the summit, is best enjoyed around the evening.

Barrier-free Sunset Forest Hiking Trail

View from the Summit

Merci! Paju’s Provence Village

About Provence Village Provence

Village’s roots come from a large pasta restaurant called the “Provence Restaurant”, built in 1997. Since then, it has become a well-known commercial district; it is now one of the leading tourist attractions in Paju along with Heyri and the DMZ. Although the village’s name originates from Provence, a region in Southeastern France, there areno residential areas. The town only consists of coffee shops, retail stores, and restaurants. There are no admission fees, and opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m..

Ways to Reach Provence Village from Heyri Art Valley

If you take bus No. 036 at Heyri Gate 1 and get off at Provence Village Entrance, it takes around 13 minutes. However, as Provence is in proximity to Heyri, you can also walk for 20 minutes to reach the town.

Welcome to Provence Village!

A Tour Around Provence Village

1. Enchanting Photo Spots

Provence is often visited by tourists, namely families and couples, for photo shoots due to its exotic atmosphere. For instance, Square Garden, the lawn that is first seen when entering the village, has mushroom and deer-shaped sculptures and a fancy fountain in the interior. Also, the Confession Tunnel, located behind the village, and murals of The Little Prince and Rapunzel are recommended photo spots. Lastly, the mini Eiffel Tower, painted in the colors of the French flag, is a famous landmark, so don’t forget to take a commemorative photo!

The Mini Eiffel Tower

A Photo Zone at Provence

2. A Fairytale-like Commercial District

Although Provence is famous for its fairytale-like colorful buildings, many tourists also visit the village for its various types of stores. You can choose to visit interior design stores selling furniture and shops selling cute trinkets. There is also a perfume store and various tarot reading spots, so enjoy the village to its fullest by visiting some local stores while taking a walk around!. Furthermore, there is a building called the “Provence Greenhouse” in the middle of the village. Inside, there are two coffee shops, a shooting range, and a large general store, so it is recommended for tourists to visit.

Provence Greenhouse

A Perfume Shop

3. The Starlight Festival

By the time the sun starts to set, lights start to turn on all over the village; this is called the “Starlight Festival”. As most of the photo spots visited during daylight are made of LED lights, you can enjoy the scenery in a completely different light at night – in the same place! The Square Garden, with its vibrant colored fountain and sculptures, may remind you of the beautiful royal ball scene in Cinderella. As the weather gets cold in mid-November, enjoy Provence’s night view by feeling the Christmas and winter vibes in advance!

Night View of Provence

김재희  serenwogml@g.skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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