Marseille aims to be the capital of solar gastronomy, Source: Le Présage/ Facebook

The first solar restaurant in Europe opens in Marseille

The first solar restaurant in Europe opens in Marseille

Go and literally taste the Sun in these Provencal dishes

Le Présage, which claims to be the first completely solar restaurant in Europe, opened its doors on 18 June in the Chutes-Lavie district of Marseille. The distinctive thing about this establishment is that it captures sun rays through its specially designed solar cookers, which resemble satellite dishes in a way.

It took a whole decade to develop the concept of a fully solar restaurant successfully. Its kitchen is powered by the sun's energy captured through two large parabolic dishes whose beams are directed onto the kitchen stoves.

Solar gastronomy

Le Présage (whose name translates as The Omen) is open Monday to Friday only at lunchtime (11:30-14:00), likely necessitated by the need to capture the power of the Sun at its most potent. It’s described as a guinguette by its founders.

A guinguette is a type of quintessential French establishment that reached its heyday during the end of the 19th century, often becoming the subject of artworks even (check out the painting Déjeuner de Canotiers by Renoir to feel the original jolly atmosphere). Guingettes were open-air taverns that were usually constructed near rivers and served as popular get-together spots that served cheap alcohol.

They were a preferred way for Parisians to spend their weekends, especially with the development of economic short-distance travel due to trains. On the other hand, it was the ban on swimming in rivers that started to be applied towards the middle of the 20th century that led to the decline of guinguettes.

In the spirit of nostalgia, in recent years guinguettes began to be revived in France but with modern twists. The creation of a ‘solar guinguette’ is thus as contemporary as it gets, and this doesn’t only apply to its reliance on solar energy alone.

A low wall inside the building, just behind the large bay windows, is made partly from earth recovered from the site and is used to store the heat from the sun's rays. Le Présage uses everything it can to be as environmentally friendly as possible and works with local stakeholders. 

It keeps in line with the traditional open-air concept, but it also has its own garden with plans to begin growing its own herbs and some vegetables, which is more in line with modern trends of ‘localism’. However, the garden will only begin to be developed in the autumn.



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