It’s the perfect art experience for families, couples, and groups of friends. Fun with a bit of education thrown in.
Scroll down to the bottom for a vlog of our day at L’atelier.
How to get to L’atelier?
The easiest way to find L’atelier is Exit 14 of Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station, Line 2/4/5. Walk straight ahead for about 200 metres, past a row of street vendors, turn left and head down the street. You’ll see the Hyundai City Tower on your right. L’atelier is on the eleventh floor (same floor as a CGV Cinema).
The first thing you’ll see is an animated portrait of Van Gogh having a little look around, and this gives you a perfect introduction to what you’ll see inside.
Once you’re in you’ll follow a fairly linear path through the gallery but there’s no rush; it’s very relaxed and people are having fun taking in the aesthetics. The entire gallery, every wall and floor, has been designed to look like the cobbled streets of an old French village, complete with gaslight lanterns and wooden shutters. It’s beautiful. It truly is the lives of Monet and Van Gogh come to life.
You can talk to paintings and they’ll reply (albeit in Korean), there are windows everywhere in all of the recreated buildings, and you can see animated images of people inside doing all kinds of quaint and curious things (playing piano, sewing clothes, painting at an easel and whatnot) and I’m certain children would love exploring all the windows to see who’s inside and what they’re up to.
A European Setting
They’ve done a great job of recreating a charming French setting, a heart of southern France that only exists in old films and romantic novels.
I love visiting the enchanting European recreations found in Asia (and they are many) such as: Petite France in Seoul; Thames Town in Shanghai; Provenance Village in Paju; Edelweiss Swiss in Gapyeong; Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki. I could go on… They’re often more charming than their real life counterparts and L’atelier has a similar vibe.
There are three shows to see while you’re going through the gallery – they’re totally optional but I’d definitely recommend seeing them. This is partly because they’re simply great fun to experience, and also because the whole trip through would be quite short without them (I’d say around half an hour) but with the shows your experience will be fleshed out about an hour and a half).
The first is a Monet exhibition. You’ll be shuffled into a hexagon-shaped room, and if you don’t speak Korean you’ll be given some headphones for translation (as with the other two shows), and you’ll be immersed in the paintings, as they are projected onto each of the six walls .
This is where the education comes in as you’ll hear some truly fascinating facts about Monet’s life, art methods, and inspirations.
At the very end you’ll find yourself submerged in one of his most famous painting where you can play with interactive lilies and water on the floor, and take lots of pictures and videos as you play.
The second is a short play (semi-interactive since that actor/singer playing Van Gogh occasionally talks to the audience) as we’re guided through his journey to a sleepy town in the south of France where he painted many of his most famous works. At the end of play you’re treated to a truly gorgeous sight as you’re ushered into a model recreation of one of his most iconic paintings.
The third is a hologram talk show named X-Files on Masterpieces which was closed today but looks to be great fun from the outside.
What else is there to do?
Once you’re done looking at the paintings, taking pictures in front of all the houses, and you’ve seen the shows, the last things to do are: visit a lovely cafe which you’ll find at the end (with an aesthetic which really does feel like its been lifted out of France) and a gift shop which has some lovely art-themed gifts. I usually try not to indulge in gift shops but I did come out with some treasures today.
If you need something new to do in Seoul that’s not too far out of the art city centre, something perfect for a rainy day (and there are plenty of those at the moment) where you’re guaranteed to have a fun time and maybe learn a thing or two, then I wholeheartedly recommend L’atelier.
You can book this activity here.
Watch Will’s video take on L’atelier and find out what to expect inside!
This trip was sponsored by Trazy, an awesome tour company based in Korea and Thailand. All views and opinions are our own, and we wholeheartedly recommend this fun day out.
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Jess is the creator and editor of Books and Bao. She's passionate about the world, its literature, food, culture, and people. She enjoys sharing her travel tips with others and capturing those perfect moments.