We Must Go: Impressions of France

Impressions de France (At Disney Again)Impressions de France, the 18-minute, 220° travelogue in EPCOT’s France Pavilion, is such a beautiful, haunting ode to the 42nd largest country in the world. Especially the opening–when the notes that are also heard in the opening of Beauty and the Beast tinkle sorrowfully as the picture roams the countryside, I feel so affected.

I love feeling like I am living in the film, like I’m part of it. It’s extremely transporting, which is always nice when I’m hot, sweaty and footsore. As a French citizen selecting a pastry or herding my tourist-frightened sheep, I can easily forget my discomfort for a second. At times, it even almost feels like Soarin–in fact, if you told me the ride designers for Soarin Over California were inspired by EPCOT’s France attraction, I wouldn’t at all be surprised.

Impressions de France (Mouse on the Mind)When it comes down to it, Impressions de France makes me feel downright patriotic. For a country I’ve never visited. It’s that good. But something about the film always struck me as rather odd: In the wedding scene, there are a fair number of guests wearing chef hats. What now?! On what planet is that appropriate?

So I did some Googling, and apparently the hat is known as a coiffe, and it is a traditional cap worn by women from the Bigouden region of France on the northwest coast of the country. Not many women follow the tradition anymore, but those who do aren’t running around in a towering lace confection from day to day. In fact, the daily coiffe is just a black bonnet. The 13-inch tall cap—which, according to National Geographic, takes nearly a half hour to put on!!—is only worn on Sundays and special occasions.

ca. 2003, Pont-l'Abbe, France --- The Bigouden is a traditional lace headdress of the Bigouden, an ancient Breton tribe which once occupied this region of France. --- Image by © Christophe Boisvieux/Corbis

Now that we know, I sort of wonder why they don’t sell replicas of these caps in the France Pavilion. Like the Viking helmets in Norway. Or maybe they could give out cheap versions on Bastille Day? I’m sort of in love with them …

What merch would you like to see sold around EPCOT’s World Showcase? Let us know!

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