Our travels around the France Pavilion at Epcot continue with a better look at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, the French bakery located in the back left of the Pavilion.
You’ll find the current iteration in the very back of this area that also functions as the exit from Impressions de France next door. If you missed the post showcasing a lot of the merchandise available here and elsewhere in France, you can pull up that post here. The overview post, which includes current menus, construction updates, and some pretty(?) pictures around the Pavilion, can be accessed here.
Some of you may remember this “classic” Patisserie menu from back in the day, when the Bakery inhabited what’s currently L’Artisan des Glaces. The menu above is “just” five years old and features items like the $5.25 “Ham & Cheese Sandwich” and the $5.95 Cheese Plate.
Unlike everything else in World Showcase outside of Norway, the French Bakery opens with Future World at 9am. So if you’re really living the life, you can enter through the International Gateway entrance between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions and head over here first thing for a coffee and croissant. Just a couple of people have taken me up on that idea here at 9:10am.
This seating/standing area is full of people most of the day, which makes a visit here typically a little less pleasant than you might expect.
You might be able to luck into an outdoor table, but they’re often taken by those enjoying ice cream and/or wine. Most people visiting Epcot are probably going to be busy with the Future World attractions first thing in the morning, since wait times are so much shorter at 9:30am than they are at 11:30am, but anyone that can make a visit to the Boulangerie before 11am is in for a tasty treat in a really pleasant, serene atmosphere. You might try to enjoy the best of both worlds by heading up here around 10:30am in order to beat the late breakfast/lunch rush at the Bakery and also have the opportunity to enjoy a couple of priority attractions with short waits.
Crowding and a somewhat convoluted ordering process are the main reasons why I don’t visit Les Halles more often, but I’ll explain the setup so you can hopefully enjoy an easier experience. First of all, you’ll enter this single line to start before breaking off into one of two identical sides to start your order once you reach the front of the first line.
You’ll first select from the list of Sandwiches, Salades, and Spécialités.
There are some really hearty items available for not a whole lot of money, and this $4.75 “Croissant Jambon Fromage – Ham, Cheese and Béchamel in a Croissant” also qualifies as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. And it’s delicious – at least a thousand calories of flaky, buttery croissant, decadent, creamy bechamel cheese, and several slices of meaty ham. I’m not sure if there’s anything more filling on property for under five bucks, while still being this tasty. A fabulous value.
Erin loves the $7.50 “Jambon Beurre – Ham and Cheese, Dijon Mustard Butter on a Demi Baguette.”
The perfectly crusty, toasted baguette is what makes it delicious with the melted cheese and ham, along with just a little bit of a creamy, mildly spicy dijon mustard butter. It’s a very comforting, satisfying sandwich that’s probably not quite as good of a value as the croissant version. But if you prefer crispy, toasty bread, this is obviously the way to go.
The $4.50 “Pissaladière – Tomatoes, Olives and Gruyere Cheese” is another favorite that I order as “the French-bread-pizza-looking-thing” as I point in the general vicinity of the focaccia-esque pizza. This is another bread-heavy option with deliciously melted cheese and an olive and tomato topping on top of the flaky crust that works a lot better than you might be expecting. It’s also a snack credit on the Dining Plan and a good value out of pocket. Make sure you get all three of these items toasted – they should ask, but they don’t always.
A closer look at what some of these items look like in the case. The fact that everything is out makes ordering a little easier and a little harder. It takes some time to inspect everything and the cast member in charge of fixing everything for you may get bored and move on to someone else while you’re trying to decide on which of the two salads sound better.
Historically, I haven’t been a proponent of the couple of kinds of Quiche available here with the Lorraine version pictured. Mine was incredibly salty with a wet texture and a bland flavor. It might be worth revisiting, though.
The Croque Monsieur will set you back $8.75 and I’m not sure it’s worth the money compared to the similar, less expensive sandwiches that we’ve seen.
It’s just two thin slices of ham in between the bread with the cheese melted on top. It’s probably about the same amount of food as what’s served on our toasty baguette, but it “feels” less hefty.
Here’s the $8 “Brie aux Pommes – Brie, Apples and Cranberries in Multi Grain Bread,” which consists of about two ounces of cheese and about six slices of either red or green apples. The cranberries arrive in the form of a spread, which adds a sweet and tart flavor to the sandwich, which may also be on the skimpy side of things for eight bucks. As far as bread and cheese go, it might be a little healthier than some of the other heavy items given the lack of ham and the addition of multigrain bread. But I’m on vacation. Make it two croissants.
I don’t typically recommend the $9 “Poulet au Pistou – Chicken Breast with Cheese, Tomato, Red Onion and Pesto.”
You can take a look inside if you dare, but the cast member that I ordered it from instinctively handed me a couple of mayonnaise packets along with the sandwich, which is not typically a good sign. The chicken is incredibly dry and against the thick bread, almost hard to eat. The mayo helps, but it basically eliminates the flavor from the other, more nuanced ingredients. A pretty easy skip.
The $6.75 “Tartine Aux Fromages – Country Bread, tomato sauce, swiss, parmesan and goat cheese,” which is very light on the tomato sauce, making this much more of a cheesy bread situation than a French bread pizza. But it works very well with the creamy tang from the goat cheese in the center contrasting nicely with the other salty cheeses and the sauce providing just a little bit of tomato-y sweetness. It’s not my favorite thing available, but it’s quite satisfying.
The $7.75 “Croissant Salé – Eggs, Cheese, and Bacon Croissant” only suffers a little bit from the fact that it’s a reheated slab of egg – the flavor still works pretty well with what is basically an oversized breakfast sandwich. It would be one of my top choices for a morning visit, but perhaps a bit less so for dinner most of the time.
I would say that most of the items here offer similar flavors, but it’s also possible that I gravitate to the sorts of things that are basically bread, cheese, and meat. I’m definitely going to give those soups a try the next time it’s under 90 degrees, or November, whichever comes first.
After selecting your savory items, you’ll continue on to the selection os Viennoiseries, Tartes, and Desserts. You can also skip picking up a sandwich, salad, soup, etc. and continue on to the next area if you so choose, but you’ll still need to wait in the initial line.
With 20 different options, you’re probably going to be making some tough choices.
Flavors of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and more are offered, in addition to a lot of potentially lighter, fruitier desserts.
I’ve tried what is probably a disappointing number of desserts here over the years. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the $3.35 “Pain au Chocolat – Chocolate Croissant,” which was probably not as Americanized as I would have liked with almost all of the chocolate chips that were inside visible in this picture.
The $4.75 “Parfait aux Fruits – Yogurt Mousse with Berries” is on the small side for the money, but the flavors are incredibly fresh with the light, creamy yogurt tasting particularly delectable when accompanied by ripe berries. Still, this is about 75 cents per bite, which is on the high side. On the other hand, it’s considerably tastier and probably more dessert than you’d receive at a Food and Wine booth come fall. So there’s that.
The $4.75 “Tarte aux Fraises – Vanilla Cream topped with Strawberry” has a similar flavor profile with the addition of the flaky pie crust and the sugar glaze on the strawberries. It’s a much sweeter, more “calorically-rich” choice compared to the Parfait.
This is quite possibly the saddest picture that I’ve ever taken that does not feature me in it, but what the Pavilion calls a “Beignet” is delicious with quite a bit of Nutella hiding beneath what ended up being layers of tender pastry. The texture and density reminded me a lot of a Krispy Kreme filled doughnut much more so than you would receive at Port Orleans Riverside or Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, but I don’t mean that at all negatively and my eyes lit up after taking the first bite. It’s a light, airy viennoiserie that isn’t at all oily or at all hollow, though there is some powdered sugar involved. Really quite good for what it is though they may want to figure out a better translation for “Nutella filled doughnut.”
In my old age, I’ve given up on a number of fights, including the one where I tell you that macaron and macaroon are two very different things and the words are not interchangeable.
Disney even made this chart showcasing the differences between the two.
Yet, their online menus remain wrong most of the time, including here at the French bakery with this $5.75 “Macaron – Macaroon with Raspberry and Lime Cream.” They do a nice job with this with the exterior of each meringue-like cookie offering a crisp texture before giving way to a slightly chewy center. The fresh, fruity flavors from the plump raspberries are enhanced by the sweetness of the jam and a slight tartness to the lime cream. It’s probably overpriced by a dollar, but delicate, handmade desserts probably deserve a slight premium.
Finally, you have your choice of some beverages at checkout. For $5.87, you might as well add a Chardonnay. A couple of the wines and the beer are also offered on the Disney Dining Plan these days as beverage choices with a quick service meal. $6.95 for a Mimosa is a pretty good price these days too.
Overall, it’s hard to beat a peaceful morning visit to Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie when the goodies are fresh, the crowds are low, and you can have the Pavilion largely to yourself.
There’s no camera trickery here. I really am the only person around.
Later in the day, it can be a bit of a hassle to wait in line and then order from the very French cast members who will pretend like they have no idea what you’re trying to order despite the fact that I’m certain that we’re saying at least half of the same consonants and at least one of the same vowels. Lord knows you don’t want to hear the word “Pissaladiere” come out of my mouth. But after completing what can be a hectic ordering experience, there are some really good values available and it’s probably worth a bit of a communication breakdown to come away with a Croissant Jambon Fromage for less than five bucks.
We’ll probably move on to the UK.