Christmas chalets used to serve French restaurant takeaways

The wooden huts are usually a familiar sight around Christmas time, but enterprising restaurateurs in Limoges are now using them to serve takeaways

28 February 2021
By Hannah Thompson

Restaurateurs in southwest-central France have given a new lease of life to the wooden huts normally used for traditional Christmas markets, and are using them to offer takeaways during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A collection of 12 wooden chalets have popped up in the town centre of Limoges, Haute-Vienne, with restaurateurs using them to offer takeaway food to the public.

The restaurateurs wear masks and maintain as much physical distance as possible from customers.

The initiative - which offers the chalets free of charge to the restaurants - comes from the Limoges Mairie and hospitality union l'Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie (UMIH) of Haute-Vienne.

Margaux Camelot, one restaurateur taking part, told news service FranceInfo: “We have been closed since October 29, so it’s good to be working again, and to be in the town centre. It’s good weather, we are seeing lots of people - it’s really nice.”

Another participant, Thomas Vidal, said: “We are all together, we see our colleagues, it’s nice to see them. And we are seeing our clients again - that’s why we do this job, to be with people.”

The response has been positive, with several chalets finding they sold out of food much earlier than planned on the first day of the “village” opening, due to the higher-than-expected turnout.

The initiative is set to last until March 7, but some locals are already calling for the event to be prolonged if it is deemed a success overall.

Restaurateurs are also likely to welcome an extension, as restaurants in France are to remain closed for some time due to the pandemic. Participation in the event does not affect the restaurant's eligibility to claim government support.

Restaurateur and participant Philippe Poisier from Le Petit Comptoir, said: “I only have positive things [to say about it], we didn’t think we would have so many people.”

The list of restaurants taking part in the event can be seen on the Limoges town website here.

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