Epcot World Showcase - France
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The France Pavilion is a bit deceptive at first glance. Tucked away behind the Monsieur Paul restaurant (one of Epcot's best), is an alleyway where the Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie is found. This is a fancy way of saying "bakery" and is not to be missed.
When you approach France from the United Kingdom, you stroll over the Pont des Arts inspired footbridge. This spot is reminiscent of the the Seine waterfront, complete with flower carts and streetside artists.
The center fountain is a great place to sit, relax and people watch. Throughout the day the "Serveur Amusant" acrobats perform. It's a fun show where the the two talented performers build a tower out of chairs and balance on top.
The 'streets' are lined in cobblestones and as you explore the pavilion, you'll hear romantic tunes being played. Speaking of romance, there's no greater love than the Beauty and the Beast. You'll often find Belle and her fur-covered man meeting and greeting guests in the gardens. (Check the park schedule for appearances.)
When you think of France, two things come to mind, wine and perfume. You won't be disappointed as both are well represented. When you sit at one of the bistro tables tucked into the passageways while sipping a glass of champagne with a freshly baked croissant, you'll truly feel as if you've been transported to Paris.
There are several carts scattered around. You can shop for souvenirs, get a made to order crepe or visit the wine kiosk which has fantastic Grey Goose vodka and Grand Marnier slushies.
Adding to the authenticity is the "Eiffel Tower." This much photographed landmark is 1/10th the size of the actual tower and was built following the blueprints of Gustave Eiffel.
There is one "attraction" so to speak. The "Impressions de France" film is shown throughout the day in the Palais du Cinema. The best thing about this movie is that you actually get to sit. (A nice departure from the Circle Vision movies in China and Canada.)
This film is an 18-minute trip through France, giving guests a glimpse into the beauty of both the French countryside and the densely-populated cities. See the palace of Versailles, winemakers, hot air balloons and the celebration of Bastille Day, all set to a beautiful soundtrack of French composers. In other words, it's very relaxing and your kids will most likely be bored.
The France Pavilion has a lot to offer, and when it comes to eating, whether a meal or a snack, it can't be beat.
Les Chefs de France - This is one of Epcot's overlooked gems. Many of the tables overlook the 'streets' of France and give you a bird's eye view of the comings and goings while you enjoy your delicious meal. The tables are covered in crisp white linens, the interior is light and airy and the service is always top notch.
Monsieur Paul - This is an upscale restaurant that is only open for dinner. If 'elegance' is something you seek, this gourmet spot is one to consider. (There is a dress code.)
At the Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, You'll find croissants, eclairs, mousse, quiche, souffles, tarts, cheese platters and sandwiches accompanied by French roast coffee.
L'Artisan des Glaces, is an Artisan Ice Cream and Sorbet shop. 16 different flavors are made on the premises, all with fresh ingredients - 10 ice creams (chocolate, vanilla, mint chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut, caramel fleur de sel, cherry, coconute-white chocolate, coffee and profiterole) and six sorbets (strawberry, mango, lemon, pomegranate, and mixed berry). Desserts are sold by the scoop either in cups or cones. Adults may also add a liqueur to their ice cream, giving guests the option of hundreds of flavor combinations.
Pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice macaron ice cream sandwiches are now available for the fall season.
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There are an abundance of shops, and merchandise, to choose from in the pavilion of France. Perfumes and colognes are the featured items in the "Plume et Palette". Chanel, Escada, Givenchy, and Lacoste can be found as well as two Parisian perfumiers, Jean Patou and Annick Goutal. The "Guerlain" signature store not only features fragrances but has their full line of cosmetics.
At "La Maison du Vin", guests can sample wines (for a fee) and purchase their favorite French wines along with a variety of wine accessories. Maxim’s de Paris chocolates, cookies, Marat D’Avignon kitchen linens, soaps by E.Barret & Co., and Emile Henry cookware are other items offered in this store.
“Souvenirs de France” carries the typical type of French souvenir like the beret, miniature Eiffel Tower, t-shirt, and the Paris purse. The more interesting items are the many books on French artists, cities, and the language itself, and the infant toys by Latitude Enfant. All areas of the France pavilion are wheelchair accessible.
FUN FACTS: Say "hello" in French by saying "bonjour" (bohn-ZHOOR).
HIDDEN MICKEYS: Check out the grates at the base of the trees.