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The First Paris Baguette in Toronto opens!

To the delight of pastry lovers across the city, Paris Baguette, a popular South Korean bakery chain, recently opened its doors in Toronto.

The new location, located in the heart Yonge/Sheppard offers a variety of delicious baked goods and treats.

Entering the bakery, customers are greeted with an array of tempting pastries. The selection is impressive, from flaky croissants to fluffy brioche buns. The bakery also offers a wide range of cakes, including its signature strawberry shortcake, as well as macarons, tarts and other confections.

But it’s not just the delicious baked goods that make Paris Baguette stand out. The bakery also boasts a stylish and modern interior, with an open kitchen that allows customers to watch their treats being prepared fresh on the spot.

The bright and airy space is decorated with an abundance of greenery, creating a refreshing and welcoming atmosphere.

Beyond the mouth-watering delights and the chic décor!

For those looking for a quick and satisfying meal, Paris Baguette also offers a range of savory items including sandwiches and salads.

And for those who prefer to enjoy their treats at home, the bakery also offers a selection of packaged goods.

All in all, the opening of Paris Baguette in Toronto is a welcome addition to the vibrant Toronto baking scene. With its delicious treats, stylish interior, and commitment to quality ingredients and traditional baking methods, it’s sure to become a destination for pastry lovers across the city.

Read more about the new store in BlogTo

Photos by Simon Williams-Im / SimplySimon30 (Insta)

Valentine’s Day With A Korean Touch

SeoulTheJourney wants to offer you a couple of treats for a lovely romantic day with a Korean touch.

Images by SimplySimon30 – Simon Williams-Im

Toronto Treats

For a romantic date, Torontarians should head to High Park for a romantic morning stroll with a delicious morning brew from the lovely Korean cafe Cosette Coffee where you can order a Dalgona Coffee and Dirty chocolate croissant.

Afterwards, we suggest a lovely stroll around the neighbourhood to check out a few of the galleries in the area including the Christopher Cutts Gallery and Olga Korper Gallery.

Take a lovely stroll to Bricolage Bakery and enjoy some delicious treats and then head towards Christie for a lovely Korean lunch! What more could you want?

Location: Bricolage Bakery, 981 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1A6

We would recommend the lovely Damda restaurant as a place to pick in Christie!

Alternatively, why not make it a simple romantic date at home and give the newest Galleria Supermarket a visit to stock up on some delicious treats and maybe order a lovely Korean pizza for later?

Location:  6048 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3W5


Calgary date, eh?

Another choice location for Valentines would be a visit to Calgary, SeoulTheJourney would recommend a lovely stay at Alt Hotel Calgary East Village with easy access to the city for the perfect romantic getaway.

We would suggest grabbing a lovely lunch at Hankki and some delicious coffee at GoodEarth Coffee House. Check out their websites: Hankki

Seoul – of course

Well known Mango Couple from Seoul offered a suggestion for a great location in Seoul for a coffee – take a look at Urban Plant
(thanks @b.pack_91) and only a short walk from this location is Perception Coffee that was featured on our blog here along with a host of locations found right here on SeoultheJourney 😉

Have a romantic time and see you soon!

No Better Way to Start The Day!

In the heart of the trendy Seongsu-dong neighbourhood in Seoul, there are many treasures to be discovered, yes – take a look at one of our previous posts here.

Photo by Simon Williams-Im (simplysimon30)

Maple Top is an iconic location deserving of a mention by itself!

The location is vibrant and lively from the moment you arrive. The design work by Jiah Park compliments the delicious treat, and SeoulTheJourney would love to direct you to Jiah’s portfolio.

As SeoulTheJourney was visiting from Canada, we felt compelled to enjoy delicious pancakes with a lovely coffee!

Location: 메이플탑, 성수이로 14길, 14 성수연방 2층, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Of course, we have a few suggestions to follow that delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner, and we promise no more food!

As you walked towards Maple Top, we’ve no doubt you noticed several interesting buildings, shops and much more.

Maple Top is within the Seongsu Yeonbang, a hub of life, culture, and society-focused mini-style shops that include bookstores, F&B stores, and shared production facilities that protect small brands.

Location: 14 Seongsuiro 14(sipsa)-gil, Seongsu-dong 2(i)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

04784  서울 성동구 성수이로14길 14 (성수동2가)  

Take time to explore the shops and walk off that delicious food!


Common Ground is a hot location that can claim global fame as the largest container shopping mall in the world. It opened in 2015 and has since then hosted many festivals and attracts tourists seeking a unique shopping experience and paved the way for a continued container shopping experience across Seoul and Korea.

Explore the markets and certainly find a lovely few places for dinner – we won’t give you suggestions this time (we loved the Japanese treats!)

As we mentioned the trend for container locations, head north to Platform Changdong 61 and explore this equally refreshing and colorful location. Check out this blog for things to do near Changdong.

Broker breaks into Canada

The 2022 South Korean drama film, Broker (브로커) was screened at numerous national cinemas across Canada in January 2023.

The film was written and directed by the Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kor-eda and explores the complex issues around baby boxes and the ‘adoption black market’. 

YouTube – Broker Trailer by EonTalk Media

The film touches on numerous social problems facing South Koreans, not least the baby box concept, wider society’s sensitivities to single-parent Mothers and children born out of wedlock, and child raising outside of so-called traditional marriage and same-sex relationships.

The film starts with the anonymous dropping off a baby at a church in South Korea. The story continues to reflect on the complex reasons people give up a child, and the reasons people attempt to sell a child on the black market. and the reasons people buy a child on the black market.


In the case of South Korea, May 11th marks National Adoption Day in South Korea. South Korea recently tried to reduce the number of international adoptions (Article 8 Reducation of Overseas adoptions), ironically causing Korea more problems after it was passed in 2011 and has seen a sad increase in abandoned children.

The film will take the viewer on a heartbreaking journey that will tune you into the very complex situation in Korea. Having lived in Korea, Seoulthejourney is familiar with the social problems faced by women and sexual minorities in Korea. 

The characters reflected on how adoption was problematic for people who weren’t married, single ‘want-to-be- parents and sexual minorities. 

For those curious, take a brief look into the issue of adopting a South Korean from outside of South Korea, interestingly there is a clear religious agenda which doesn’t match up with the legislation but syncs well with the history of adoption in Korea.

YouTube – Mel Gutierrez – a fascinating look at the process of Korean adoption

The film reminds us that South Korea has a long way to go to protect children.

Korea should ensure single parents get more support.

Equally, the Korean government needs to review the adoption system to make it more human and responsible. The film reminds us that people looking to adopt domestically and internationally face many problems. The reality is that regardless of their marital status, religious perspective, or simply being part of the LGBTQ community – people can make that difference and provide a happy home to an adopted child.

Read the amazing interview with  Director Hirokazu Koreeda.

Take time to check out a fascinating interview with the director

Adoption regulations are very interesting when adopting a South Korean child:

To be eligible for the South Korea adoption program, parents must be between 25 and 45 years old* at the time of home study approval. Couples must be married a minimum 3 years. No single parents can adopt from South Korea, and they do not knowingly place children with homosexual parents.

For more information visit here

Read more

Rotten Tomatoes review

Overview of the Korean adoption system

South Korea and human rights (2023)

New Year, New Adventures

SeoulTheJourney wants to start by saying – it is a delight to be back!

We missed you!

Photographs are by Simon Williams-Im

We enjoyed 2022, a year exploring all things Korean across Canada and Europe – let’s not forget South Korea. We took a break over the new year period and even had the chance to enjoy the chilly weather of Canada!

In 2023, we are looking forward to showing our readers even more! 

We are delighted to continue our relationship with the Korean Culture Centre in Ottawa.

In other news, we launched a new blog focusing on our attempt to learn Korean and a few other languages. Please join the adventure but note that the blog just started.

Seoul Forest Park

With our little 2023 introduction complete, we will introduce you to the beautiful green landscape of Seoul Forest Park (not least because Canada is remarkably cold and snowy!

Seoul Forest is a must-visit park in the heart of the city, and we recommend a visit during the Cherry Blossom and autumn months (fall). If you are planning a trip to Korea in the near future, be sure to check out the link and to explore this map:

This image is taken from VisitKorea

Seoul Forest opened in June 2005 and is home to over 400,000 trees and many different animals – enjoy the energy and space, at an investment of 235 billion KRW.

Take the chance to explore and check out the artworks scattered across the park. If you enjoy insects, there is a treat for you – the Insect Garden.

Location: 273 Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea


If time allows, we suggest checking out our blog for some more ideas in this area. Next we will jump on the metro to enjoy a lovely coffee at the stylish coffee shop in Jongno, Felt.

Felt seemingly a modern trendy cafe that bounced into the office district of Jongno from nowhere – Felt has a lovely story!

Felt was originally a coffee shop found in Changjeon-dong – it all started in an old piano school. Take the chance to read about the cafe and take the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon coffee in a vibrant city basement!

Photos by Simon Williams-Im

Location: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Cheongjin-dong, 246, 지하 2층

Pig in the Garden

And, a little treat that SeoulTheJourney will likely remind you about every few blogs, the amazingly delicious Pig in the Garden is waiting for you!

Location: 17 Jong-ro 3-gil, Cheongjin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Take the time to enjoy exploring Jongno in the evening with a few ideas from this blog.




WE ADMIT, a visit to Korea is great at anytime!

But…December is a great time to visit Korea, as the country is in the festive mode with decorations and lights, making for a magical atmosphere.

Top of the bucket list, The Hyundai Seoul – the newest department store/mall in town!

Without a doubt a visit to one of the newst malls in Seoul is on the list – The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido (pictured above, photos by Simon Williams-Im/SimplySimon30)

Wintery Seoul – photo by Simon Williams-Im
  1. Visit the Seoul Plaza Ice Rink: Located in the heart of the city, the Seoul Plaza Ice Rink is a popular destination for visitors during the winter months. The rink is open from November to February, and is a great way to experience the holiday spirit while enjoying some outdoor activities
  2. Experience Korean Christmas markets: Korea’s Christmas markets are a must-visit during the month of December. Markets across Korean cities are filled with festive lights, delicious food, and unique gifts. The markets are open from late November to early January, and are a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
  3. Take a trip to Jeju Island: Jeju Island is a popular destination year-round, but it is particularly beautiful during the winter months. The island is well known for Teddy Bear Museum, delicious chocolates and let’s not forget its natural beauty, where you can enjoy hiking, skiing, and hot springs. Visitors can also experience the island’s unique culture, including traditional food and festivals.
  4. Visit the Pyeongchang Ski resort: Are you a fan of winter sports, a trip to the Pyeongchang Ski resort is a must-do. The resort is located in the Gangwon-do province and is known for its high-quality ski slopes and facilities. The resort also offers other winter activities, such as snowboarding and snowmobiling.
  5. Enjoy the traditional side of Korea: December is also a great time to experience traditional Korean festivals, such as the Boseong Green Tea Festival and the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival. The festivals offer a unique insight into Korean culture and are a great way to experience the country’s rich history and traditions.
  6. Try the local street food: Korea is famous for its street food, and December is a great time to try some of the country’s delicious traditional dishes. Popular street foods include Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), Ddeokbokki (non-spicy rice cakes), and Hotteok (sweet pancakes).
Visit Starfield Coex to enjoy the Christmas vibe – photo by Simon Williams-Im

Overall, December is a great time to visit Korea. Blessed with a festive atmosphere, winter sports and outdoor activities, traditional festivals and delicious street food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Korea during December.

Merry Christmas from SeoulTheJourney !

See you in 2023!

The Art Scene of Korea

SeoulTheJourney loves the art vibe offered by Seoul and South Korea. Without a doubt, the MMCA, and the Whanki gallery are among our favourites.

The art scene in Seoul, South Korea is diverse and vibrant, with a mix of traditional and contemporary art on display throughout the city.

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is a great starting point for those looking to explore the contemporary art scene in Seoul. The museum has several branches, with the main branch located in Gwacheon, just outside of the city. This branch features works by both Korean and international artists, and has a focus on contemporary art. It continues to grow!

Another popular destination for contemporary art lovers is the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), which is located in the heart of the city and features works by both established and emerging Korean artists. The museum also has a focus on contemporary art, and regularly hosts exhibitions and events. Take advantage of their several outpots across the city. Check out our blog on the Buk-Seoul SEMA.

For those interested in traditional art, the National Palace Museum of Korea is a must-see destination. This museum is located in the historic Gyeongbokgung Palace and features a wide range of traditional Korean art, including ceramics, calligraphy, and painting. The museum also offers traditional Korean music and dance performances, which are a great way to experience the culture of Korea.

In addition to the museums, there are also a number of galleries and art spaces in Seoul that are worth visiting. The Insa Art Center is a popular destination for those interested in contemporary art and regularly features exhibitions by emerging Korean artists. The Ilmin Museum of Art is another notable art space, which focuses on contemporary art and regularly hosts exhibitions, lectures, and other events.

Another gem is the AmorePacific Museum of Art.

Overall, the art scene in Seoul is diverse and exciting, with something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in traditional art or contemporary art, you’ll find plenty of options to explore in this vibrant city. Visitors can also experience art in different ways, from visiting museums, art centers, and galleries to observing street art and graffiti that are scattered throughout the city.

Be sure to check out the Korean International Art Festvial.

Don’t forget to visit the new HiKR Art Gallery see our blog here.

별+다방 A Unique Starbucks

Over twenty years, Starbucks has become a leader. For many consumers, the taste of that morning brew is the winner, and for others in South Korea, it is the atmosphere created by a unique design to the social space of a Korean Starbucks.

One of the many new locations that opened in 2022, is Starbucks Byeoldabang which sits near the bottom of Namsan Tower and is a short walk to the well-known Myeong Dong shopping district.

The iconic store based at the new Starbucks Korea HQ in State Tower, Namsan.

SeoulTheJourney very much enjoyed visiting this iconic branch. Interestingly this store doesn’t cater so well to foreigners as other stores in the area. 

We recommend that if you have access to the Starbucks application, to be sure to take advantage of that – having noted a handful of non-Korean speakers struggle.

On that note, it is likely you are very curious about the name – Byeoldabang, a blend of the Korean word: 별 – star and 다방 – coffee house.


Address서울 중구 회현동 2가 퇴계로100

100 Toegye-ro, Hoehyeondong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Hours: Weekdays: 07:00-21:00, Weekends: 08:00-21:00 

Seoulthejourney would add a few stylish alternatives to this Starbucks. The Jongno Starbucks Reserve is a short walk or the numerous stores in Hongdae, only a subway ride from this location.

Seoulthejourney would add a few stylish alternatives to this Starbucks. The Jongno Starbucks Reserve is a short walk or the numerous stores in Hongdae, only a subway ride from this location.

The stylish Jongro store opened in December 2017, the largest Starbucks store in Korea and offers a spacious environment to enjoy your morning brew, along with unique concepts that tune into traditional Korean design.

Based in this stylish tower (below) in the heard of Jongno, a short walk from Jonggak station.

Try the ‘TO GO” store, Hongik University exit 8.

Let us know about your favourite Starbucks store in Seoul and Korea!

Five Things To Get You Started In Seongsu-Dong

SeoulTheJourney is addicted to Seoul, the coffee shops, the art galleries, and endless things yet to be discovered! Seongsu-Dong is a vibrant neighbourhood served by Ttukseom Station (뚝섬역) and Seongsu Station (성수역) on the Seoul Metro network, and it is a neighbourhood that is super accessible.

It was named the ‘The Brooklyn of Seoul’. SeoulTheJourney would argue that is even more trendy and impressive than Brooklyn!

  1. (무브모브) (Instagram)

If you are looking for a cafe that lends you a relaxing and calm atmosphere, (무브모브) will treat you well. The super friendly staff will serve up some delicious drinks.

Don’t forget the delicious treats – so we recommend a visit to just for that!

However, we suggest you take the opportunity to enjoy the many art installations and VR experiences which will make you curious about the SK Telecom experience in a previous blog (read it here).

301-51, Seongsu-dong 2(i)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 성동구 성수일로 56

2. Lyon Bakery – Seoul Forest (Instagram)

Lyon Bakery is just a short stroll from the Seoul Forest.

The Seoul Forest is a space to explore, alongside the beautiful side streets, transformed from the homes of old Seoul into a fashionable and hip neighbourhood packed full of bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Lyon offers a super relaxed atmosphere and a great place to relax with a book or podcast and to dive into a delicious cake (even better, take one for later!).

685-509, Seongsu-dong 1(il)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 1F
서울특별시 성동구 서울숲2길 14-8 1

3. PFS:Gallery Seoul

PFS: Gallery is a dynamic art space hidden in the back streets. The space houses several exhibition spaces and a little coffee shop.

SeoulTheJourney enjoyed the open first-floor exhibition on the ground floor, and we suggest taking the opportunity to enjoy the space and the works of Chuni Park.

Check out their website here.

4. Graffiti Space

Beyond the plethora of coffee shops, restaurants and shops – the magical creative energy includes a wide range of graffiti works spread across the neighbourhood.

Take the chance to enjoy these impressive works and be daring, explore the hood to find the gems!!

5. CommonGround (Instagram)

Our final spot on the list is the iconic shopping shipping container space.

COMMONGROUND is one of the first pop-up shopping spaces spread across interconnected shopping containers.

Visitors to the shopping space can enjoy a wide range of stalls from big brand names and smaller stores.

There are several events at the space during the year, and we would suggest keeping your hand on the pulse to see if something is going on during your visit!

Take a look at the website ahead of the event.

Location: 200, Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul


Photos by Simon Williams-Im

Check out this vlog by Seoul Walk and get the feeling of the hood!

YouTube – Seoul Walk

The Hyundai Seoul Is More Than A Department Store

The Hyundai Seoul opened back in 2021. It was in good view for fans of Penthouse that filmed in the trendy Fairmont Hotel and for shopping fans, art fans, foodies, coffee addicts, the arty type and everyone – a great place to check out!

SeoulTheJourney recommends visiting the Hyundai Seoul for a coffee, pizza or even some shopping!

The Hyundai Seoul is spread over some eight floors and don’t worry, you could even head to the Hyundai before heading to the airport (free lockers on most of the lower floors!).

SeoulTheJourney enjoyed the 5th/6th floor, which was ending the Halloween season and getting set for Christmas 2022, – so do go, and enjoy the Christmas magic!

Take time to explore the luxury items on the first floor – even if it is way beyond your budget! (Window shopping or, as they say in Korea: ‘eye shopping’ is free!)

The second floor is stylish and ideal for the fashionista to check out the latest styles. Equally, the third floor is for the more active and branded-focused fashionista!

And… of course, B1F is essential for the foody to enjoy a wide range of flavours and equally to see which independent coffee shops managed to get recruited by the big boys!

Take the opportunity to read about this amazing building here with a report from

Take time to enjoy a coffee at the Starbucks Reserve on B2. SeoulTheJourney would suggest the delicious Lavender Cafe Breve!

Explore the various coffee shops and take in the inspiring views of the department store.

Depending on the time of year, SeoulTheJourney hopes you can experience a seasonal theme (for example, Christmas and The Cherry Blossom season).

Take the opportunity to explore the department store and enjoy the Christmas vibes!

Fancy a quiet evening in Itaewon – check out our blog here!

Photographs by Simon Williams-Im.

Visit the Hyundai Seoul website and explore the department store using this map. For simple directions, head to Yeouido Station and take the underpass towards the IFC Mall and Hyundai Seoul (see map).

Check out this vloggers walking tour of The Hyundai Seoul:

YouTube – Seoul Walking Tour
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