Monday, February 4, 2008

Disney World After Dark: France

We now come to perhaps my favorite country on the World Showcase – France.

“Paris is clearly the key influence for the France pavilion. The mansard roofs, casement windows, and chimney stacks are très parisien, recalling the designs of city planner Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. The looming ironwork of the Eiffel Tower evokes the City of Light. A sidewalk café, the rich smell of a boulangerie, a fine bistro, a park inspired by Georges Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, even an arcade designed after Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau entry arch for the Métro, add to the evocation of romance, charm, and elegance.”

from Since the World Began, Jeff Kurtti, page 113

There was a time when I could say that I had been to Paris more than I had been to Walt Disney World. Like London, it became a city that I visited often enough to have those things that must be done on every trip; a certain bookstore just down from a certain bistro, a small café near Opera, and so on. I always considered Paris to be the most beautiful filthy city on earth.

Disney’s representation of France captures some of the flavor of the country. True, it is not like being there, and it shouldn’t be. It is postcard version of the real thing. But it is a postcard I can appreciate when I am unable to appreciate the real thing.

The highlight of the pavilion is the film, Impressions de France. My spirit soars listening to the score from this wonderful experience. It is a highlight of my day in Epcot when I hear the finale of Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C Minor; the “Organ Symphony.” The other composers and the additional scoring by Buddy Baker are also inspiring.

I was moved when I walked into this World Showcase pavilion in 1989 and when I first saw the film. This portrayal of France continues to move me today.

Bienvenue à la France!


1983horizons1 said...

This pavilion is one of the most beautiful World Showcase pavilions and becomes even more enchanting by night. Great post.

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

I could spend hours, literally, in this one pavilion. Part family and memories, part tremendous detail, and part romanticism, it is truly a sight to behold! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous photograph with us Doc!