I still remember the first time I read the Little Prince. A few years back, I managed to borrow a copy of the novel from my cousin and read it in one sitting.  I loved it so much I even considered not giving the book back right after. It was a light read. The stories were simple, and yet infinitely profound. Not to mention the illustrations that accompanied the story were also quite delightful.

While I was doing my research on things to do and places to visit in Seoul, a small Little Prince themed village named “Petite France” popped up in some of the travel blogs that I was reading. Imagine my excitement when I found out that such a place existed! I immediately jotted the place down in my itinerary and a few months later, a friend and I were sitting in a bus, waiting to get dropped off at Petite France.

Petite France was a project of a CEO of a major construction company who also happens to have a love and passion for France and for Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s books. He loved the Little Prince in particular, and focused the little French village he created on Saint-Exupery’s world-renowned book.

True to French style architecture, the houses inside Petite France were constructed with vivid terracotta roof tiles, their walls painted with bright pastel colors, the dark wooden planks visible from the outside. They even had a village circle complete with a small water fountain and cobblestone steps!

Some of the buildings were turned into museums about French culture, like paintings, music, furniture, and so on. There was also a gallery dedicated to the life and works of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The museum also contained copies of some of the original artworks used in the book. They even had a glass bookcase containing all of the translated version of the Little Prince!

Fans of the book will also rejoice in knowing that they had also built little monuments and statues of the various characters from the Little Prince around Petite France. Some of my favorite ones from my visit were the sculpture of the Little Prince tending to his volcanoes and the one where he flies away from his home planet using a flock of birds.

Aside from the sculptures, there were also several murals about the Little Prince around the village. Inside Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s gallery was a huge mural dedicated to the Little Prince’s warning about the baobab trees. The whole wall was painted a vivid cerulean blue, making the pastel yellow of the stars and the baby green color of the baobab stand out more.

I’m putting it down on my life bucket list to get a Little Prince mural. With just a few buckets of architectural paint and a whole lot of drawing practice, maybe I can also recreate the same kind of effect. It’s the perfect accent wall and inspiration to keep on reading!

Of all the countries that I’ve been to thus far, I think Seoul tops the list for most Instagram-worthy city. There’s just always something to photograph—the sleek and shiny office buildings in Gangnam, the beautiful architecture of its universities, the tree-laden parks which dot every district of this megacity, the quirky shops and cafes, the weird but captivating street art along deserted alleyways, and the list goes on.

Not to be overlooked, though, is the Seoul Trick Eye Museum. What makes this museum so unique is that instead of being a typical art gallery where one merely looks at the paintings, one can be a part of the painting themselves. The paintings housed in the museum are created using a technique called trompe-l’œil, which is French for “deceives the eye.” This particular art style gives each 2D masterpiece the illusion of being in 3D.

Trompe-l’œil is not a new concept, it’s been around since the ancient Romans (as archeological expeditions have discovered). This art style has been used for architectural paintings to create the illusion of higher ceilings through mural artworks. It was also used to depict doors or windows, making the room look larger than it actually is.

Ancient painters have used this style for grand projects like cathedrals and the like, but they also used it for fun and mischief. An example is from the book Lives of Artists (1550) which contained the story of Giotto’s fly where a Florentine painter named Giotto decided to paint a tiny fly onto the mural that his master Cimabue was working on. Unaware that it was actually just a true-to-life painting, Cimabue almost went crazy in trying to shoo the fly away!

The Seoul Trick Eye Museum pays homage to stories like these. There’s a section inside the museum where you can include yourself in classical paintings and another which was solely dedicated to water related artworks (think: mermaids, sharks, fishes, etc.). While some of the artworks were fun and classy, some were downright naughty. Proceed with caution in posing with these mildly indecent paintings!

Before we headed out, we went to the Ice Museum which was located in the same building. Did you ever wish your house was made entirely out of ice especially now in the sweltering Manila heat? If you did, then this place is just for you. It even has a slide (made entirely out of ice!) that you can slide down on. Unfortunately, I was wearing a skirt so I had to pass on that one.

Get there as early as possible so you don’t have to wait in line to have your photos taken. Having less people around also means less embarrassment as you make awkward poses with the paintings. Also, wear shorts or pants, I can’t stress enough how difficult it was to pose in a skirt, especially when you had to lie down on the ground. And with that, go ahead and fill your camera roll with enough Instagram photos to last you a lifetime!