The Epcot France Pavilion is a wonderful place to experience in the World Showcase area of the park. Sip a glass of wine, shop for perfume, enjoy a fabulous pastry or just soak up the wonderful atmosphere of this very special little corner of France. Of course it is only Disney make believe but of course they do it very well!
Photo by Peter E Lee
The France pavilion is one of the most beautiful in Epcot. Modeled after the streets of Paris you will be transported to a place of cobbled streets, magnificent fountains and of course a one tenth scale replica of the Eiffel Tower.
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As with all of the Epcot World Showcase countries all of the Cast Members and the products are from the pavilion country. So this is a great opportunity to brush up on your French language skills if you want to (although of course the French Cast Members all speak perfect English) or pick some merchandise made in France.
Impressions de France
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Impressions de France is an 18 minute movie which is the attraction in the pavilion. Let me start by saying that although I personally really enjoy the movie it desperately needs updating. Some of it’s charm is in the beautiful music and scenery but this was made in 1982 and to say it looks a little dated is understating it! The movie does give a great overview of the diverse culture and wonderful scenery of France. Just try not to be too distracted by the dubious fashions of the 1980′s! It is a very pleasant way to sit down and relax in the air conditioned space though so pick a time when you need a break. And then look forward to the chocolate eclair or glass of wine that you promised yourself.
Epcot France Dining and Restaurants
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As you would expect there are some fabulous dining and restaurant choices in Epcot France. If you just want a quick bit then visit the Boulangerie Patisserie which serves the most amazing French cakes. No visit to Epcot is complete without sampling one of these! Will it be a chocolate croissant, caramel souffle, meringue, a Napolean or even an elephant ear? The amazing cakes start at around $3 and upwards.
Bistro de Paris is the most upscale of the 2 restaurants in France and offers an exceptional fine dining experience. The decor is turn of the century Paris and the menu offers such entrees as Filet Mignon, Venison Medallions with caramelized apples, or Seared Scallops. There is an a la carte and a prix fixe menu Entrees range from around $33 and upwards. Don’t forget to try the chocolate souffle for dessert.
Bistro de Paris is open only for dinner and there is a dress code.
Photo by steven-stevens
If you are looking for something informal but still with a very high standard of food then Les Chefs de France is an excellent restaurant and I believe one of the best in Epcot. Great French food, friendly waiters and a place where it is fun to take the kids. Try and snag a window table so that you can watch the world passing by. The classic onion soup is a great appetizer or if you are feeling a little more adventurous then start with the escargot. The Croque Monsieur is excellent, and I think that Bistor de Paris has one of the best vegetarian options with the baked macaroni and cheese. Other choices include Quiche Lorraine, Salad Nicoise and a baked goat’s cheese salad.
The French menu offers great value with the onion soup, croque monsieur and a creme brulee for just $19.95. There is of course an excellent wine list.
Epcot France Shopping
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A recent addition is the Givenchy store. This 400 square foot store is unique as it is the only stand alone Givenchy store in the whole of the United States. To celebrate there has even been a new perfume created eaudemoiselle de Givenchy. As well as perfume the store sells cosmetics and skin care.
Another mot to be missed is la Maison du Vin a store selling wine as well as fine chocolate, books and cookery items. Wine tasting is offered for a fee. This is one of my favorite stores to browse around in Epcot.
Sovenirs du France is another great place to shop. It carries clothing (yes you can buy a beret if you really want to), books, postcards, and of course a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Epcot France Entertainment
Part of the element which makes Epcot France such a great place to spend some time is the excellent street entertainment. Look at your Epcot daily guide to find out the times of the performances for Serveur Amusant. This is a little difficult to describe but basically is a highly entertaining street act with 2 performers and some chair balancing! Take some time out to catch this show as it is well worth seeing.
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Princess Belle and Sleeping Beauty also make regular appearances by the France fountain. This is one of the best opportunities to see these Disney Princesses.
Another favorite of mine is the crepe stall. I will admit it isn’t quite as good as the ones they make on the banks of the Seine but it is close enough. You can also purchase a glass of wine and stroll through the streets of Paris, before taking the very short walk to either the United Kingdom or Morocco. C’est la Vie!
Photo by lorenjavier