Big parks and small parks can pop up out of nowhere and once a path leading in is taken suddenly the sounds of cars and One of my favorite things about Seoul is how many parks there are scattered throughout the city. Big car honking horns and construction is hidden by birds chirping and cicadas or other bugs buzzing. Some parks cater to kids and feature swings and slides and they’re usually not nearly as large or as far from the road. Some parks sit a flight of steps or more above the street below and can be more difficult to discern. Most of them have some built in outdoor exercise equipment with old women working their waistline and old men trying to do sit-ups and more and more are having the paths redone with green cushioned tracks perfect for walking or bouncily running along on. Some of the paths circle the parks and some line the river and the many streams. This week I happened to be in Mokdong for a job and found myself in Paris Park.
This particular park was built in 1987 on the 100 year anniversary of diplomacy between Korea and France and symbolizes a long lasting friendship between the countries. The name may conjure up visions of stylish people sitting on benches, possibly with berets on, having picnics with baguettes, but it’s just a name. A French district this is not. There is a lovely pond and plenty of basketball courts and pavement to play all sorts of games on. There are a couple different tracks that circle the park and of course an outdoor exercise area in one corner. There are numerous kinds of trees and flowering plants throughout the park including a rose garden, which seemed to have taken a beating in the recent monsoon rains. There is a pavilion for concerts and plenty of benches to sit on or if you’re like me and the two older Korean men I found myself near doing the same thing, you can take a lovely nap on the benches in the breezy summer afternoons.
It’s not large, but it’s not small either. It seemed to be the place to enjoy the weather in the area. Plenty of students were enjoying the basketball hoops and riding their bikes around while the older lot enjoyed the exercise equipment and the benches. Smaller children splashed in the fountains while parents sat nearby telling them not to go any further into the pond. Speed walkers and slow roamers circled on the tracks and like many parks, it seemed to be a perfect place to take a respite from the busy streets surrounding.
Directions: Omokgyo Station, Exit 2. Walk straight for about three blocks until you come upon the park.