11/15/13 Update: Menu updated and items added.
Les Halles is located past the old Boulangerie Patisserie. The old space is now closed and will reopen serving ice cream.
The old bakery was undersized and cramped, making it difficult to see what was available. And then once you picked something out, it was difficult to move by others to pay.
The new version is much larger with additional seating.
Before visiting, I had seen some pictures on the Internet of the space and it looked large with plenty of tables. I arrived to find a jumbled mass of people.
The line stretched out the door and wound around inside. Still, it only took 13 minutes to wait for, receive, and pay for my food.
With the backup, the ordering process was somewhat convoluted. There are multiple monitors and two identical sides with just one line feeding both. Menu:
First, you’ll order your sandwiches, soups, and other items from the first menu.
Everything is pre-made, so I wouldn’t bet on substitutions. This is decidedly a “pick it off” kind of establishment.
The problem I’ve always had with the Boulangerie is that I can’t say half of the names of the stuff. I can get my head around “quiche” and “baguette.” But “Pissaladiere,” “Homard” “Frangipane” and others aren’t really sounding sexy coming out of my mouth.
I tried anyway. I don’t think the poor cast member had any idea what I was trying to say, but when she batted her eyelashes at me and repeated “Pissaladiere?” I fell instantly in love. I would have done anything for this girl. But alas, it was on to the eclairs.
The Pissaladiere was really good – $4.50 and a snack credit. It’s basically a French pizza topped with tomatoes, olives, and “gruyere.” Freshly toasted, it was a hearty portion with a soft crunch and plenty of Swiss cheese. It’s recommended on or off the Dining Plan. Get it before something changes.
I was less enthusiastic with the Quiche Florentine. I meant to order the Quick Lorraine and either stuttered some of the wrong syllables or just panicked and said “Quiche Floraine.” I don’t know. Anyway, it was incredibly salty with a wet texture and bland flavor. You might have better luck – it was packed with spinach and the crust was nice and crispy. I thought the Pissaladiere for $1.70 less was a better value.
The Parfait Aux Fruits – $3.50. This was good with seemingly fresh fruit over a bed of custard. I enjoyed it a lot and thought it was a nice, potentially light snack or end to a meal.
I stole this picture from the girl that had the misfortune of standing next to me. The chocolate croissants looked pretty serious for $2.85. The eclairs looked to be thinner and the napoleons looked to be a different recipe though. At $4.75, the Tartes are more expensive, but delectable I’m sure. I should mention that I went to France just over 13 years ago, which basically makes me an expert on this stuff. Rounding out the tray is the $6.25 Jambon Beurre, which is ham, cheese, and dijon mustard butter on a demi baguette. Very French.
The Croissant Jambon Fromage, potentially the heartiest use of a snack credit on property.
I opted for an $8.75 Croque Monsieur and $2.85 Chocolate Croissant.
Service was very French. Ordinarily, your Boulangerie cast member will offer to toast anything and everything. Even things that have no business being toasted. Like tarts. But toastage was not offered on my sandwich. Since the Croque Monsieur is a toasted sandwich, I assumed it would be. It wasn’t. At the register, I asked. The cast member informed me that, “Sorry sir, it’s cold.” I asked if it could be toasted. It could. And it was, all the while the very French cast members made fun of me in their native language.
Two slices of ham – undoubtedly newer than the Angus Pizza Burger with cheese on top of more cheese. It was pretty good – I’m not sure it’s nine bucks worth of sandwich as there is not a whole lot to it. The bread does not have a tremendous amount of flavor. No flavor, really. With so many nibbles at Epcot, I’m not sure I would make Boulangerie my main meal. A sandwich like this might be better cut in half or into quarters and shared. But it was quick and satisfying.
The Chocolate Croissant was mostly hollow and lacked chocolate chips. I preferred the croissant over at Gaston’s Tavern, which is probably the Americanized version filled with handfuls of chips. For less than three dollars it was a reasonable value, but I’m not in a hurry to purchase a second.
The crowding may have been due to a light mist in the air, but my experience at Les Halles wasn’t particularly pleasant. There was “literally” nowhere to sit and I sort of creeped up to an opening at one of the long standing-only tables. There wouldn’t have been enough room for a second person. Ordering was more confusing with so many people around. At bakeries, people tend to want to see what they’re ordering, and that wasn’t possible until you got up to the counter. At that point, people are trying to point out what they want, pronounce something on the menu board that is no longer visible overhead, or otherwise just stand there looking dumb.
Off to the left of the line is a window where you can walk up and order any of the drinks.
I’m not sure if they would ring you up a quick chocolate croissant or eclair if you asked. Probably anything that doesn’t need to be toasted? You could try if it’s busy – only one person is in line.
Les Halles opens at 9am. I certainly wouldn’t head there first thing in the morning, in lieu of riding Test Track or Soarin’ with a short wait, but it means you could head up to the France Pavilion around 10:45am and order before the afternoon rush. It’s also a classy way to get a head start on your drinking around the world expedition.