Global South Korea: Paris

By Lucille Bamber

Paris, the famous “Ville de Lumières” or “Ville d’Amour”, is amongst one of the most popular places to visit in the world. Around 18 million tourists visit the city annually, mostly for sightseeing the incredible art and architecture preserved there, or to shop in the hundreds of highly popular boutiques. A city of fiery passion, tourists aren’t the only ones to seek adventure in Paris, as many come to be taught in different areas Parisians are famous for: from cuisine, to fashion, to animation. Paris is home to some of the best schools in Europe. 

Amongst these people lies a big population of Koreans, making up the third largest Korean community in Western Europe, and two-thirds of these live in Paris. This has resulted in one of the many subcultures found in Paris, and although it isn’t a predominant one, there are many hidden gems around Paris linked to Korea. 

  • Boutiques

There are K-marts all over Paris. The biggest three are K-Mart 15, which is in the 15th Arrondissement, the most populated area of Paris; K-Mart Opéra, right by the Palais-Royale; and K-Mart Champs Elysées, located in one of the most famous streets in the world for shopping. 

WOOYOUNGMI is also found in Paris, a famous designer brand founded by Mme Woo, the first designer of prêt-á-porter of men’s clothing from Korea. She designs two collections a year and presents them in the Paris Men’s Fashion Week. 

Other sorts of Korean shops around Paris include MiiN, a Korean Cosmetics store; Taiyou, a K-pop/K-Drama merch shop; and Asia Music World, which has a huge collection of K-pop albums, as well as original and unique merch. 

  • Gastronomie

Paris is known for its amazing food, and its haute-cuisine reputation. Any Korean restaurant in Paris knows they have to meet an extremely high standard to remain open, making them some of the best Korean restaurants to visit outside of Korea. There is a large range of restaurants, from Korean BBQ, like Jeongane; to bibimbap, like JanTchi… whatever your preferences are, or wherever you find yourself in Paris, you are sure to find a lovely Korean restaurant waiting for you with open arms! 

  • Centre Culturel Coreén 

The Paris Centre Culturel Coréen (Korean Culture Centre) was formed by the Korean Embassy in 1980, and since then its aim has been to make Korean culture see the light in France, as well as exchange artistic qualities between the two nations. The Centre organises many events over the year, from Korean movie nights, to calligraphy lessons, to Korean classes, to all sorts of festivals. 

There are many current projects going on, and every month events are put on for all sorts of audiences. From July to October 2019 there is an exhibition on the memories of the Korean resistance of 1919. 

On October 13, 2019, a Pansori⁠—a traditional theatre spectacle with one singer accompanied by a gosu drummer, and minimal decor⁠—will be performed by Min Hye-sung and Choi Hyo-dong. 

From October 28-November 5, 2019 the 14th Korean Film Festival of Paris will be held, being one of the biggest Korean Film Festivals in Europe, and the biggest in France. It will take place in the Publicis Cinéma at Champs Elysées, showing everything from documentaries, to short films to Korean classics, to popular modern films...an event worth checking out! 

  • K-Pop

Paris has had its share of K-pop stars visit and hold concerts, and with it being one of the most famous cities in the world, there have been some amazing moments in K-pop history. 

In 2012, when PSY’s song “Gangnam Style” became a much-adored global meme, around 20,000 people came to see him at Trocadero, by the Eiffel Tower, to see him perform the iconic song. 

When BIGBANG’s G-Dragon and Taeyang went to Paris Fashion Week in 2014, it blew everyone’s minds. Thinking about it, two of the most crazy and unique Korean fashionistas belong in the biggest fashion show of the world! It leaves us wondering when they will model at the event…

On October 14, 2018, a small concert was held to represent friendly relations between France and South Korea. The concert was to show the “Resonance of Korean music” and there were acts of both traditional music and modern music. Artists include BTS, MoonGoGo and Black Spring, who performed in front of Korean President Moon Jae-in and 400 other French and Korean officials. 

And that concludes the list of Korean things to do in Paris! There is so much to do, and Paris has such a great transport system (or beautiful streets to walk in) that doing most of it can be done! Have you ever been to Paris? What seems most interesting? Let us know in the comments below! 

Written by Lucille Bamber

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