Even if you’ve never tried your hand at French cooking, you’ve probably heard the name Julia Child. In 1961, the publication of her debut best-seller, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, made French cuisine accessible to the American public for the first time. And (pun totally intended) they were hungry for more! Two years later, her first cooking show, The French Chef, premiered, and for the next ten years, men and women around the country tuned in to learn to cook like Julia.
Unlike other cooking shows of the time, there was nothing pretentious about Julia Child. By translating French to English and demonstrating step by step instructions, she was determined to show that, with a little practice, anyone can cook like the pros. Her distinctive voice, charming personality, and the fact that each episode was filmed in her Massachusetts home left viewers feeling as if they’d just visited a kindly family member.
Julia’s success wasn’t easily won, however. In fact, she spent ten years gathering and translating recipes in post-World War II France, before finally settling with her husband, Paul Child, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Although the Childs made their home in the states, they still felt a deep connection to France. In 1963, they decided to build a small cottage near the Provence town of Plascassier. As years passed, it became a place for Julia to retreat from the world and concoct new recipes.
Julia passed away at the age of 91 in 2004, but incredibly, her cottage in France remained intact, exactly as she left it. Recently, an American couple, Evie and Makenna Johnston, purchased the property, turning into an exclusive Airbnb listing. Now, for $610 per night, you can stay in Julia’s cottage, cook with her pots and pans, and imagine that you’re one of the greatest culinary masters of the 20th century.
Here is the book that jump-started Julia Child’s career, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was co-authored with her friends, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Although neither reached the same level of fame as Julia, it was Beck who would supply the land for the Child’s Provencal cottage.
Julia and her husband used the cottage as a getaway from 1963 to 1992. They called the property “La Pitchoune,” meaning “little one,” but over time the name was affectionately shortened to “La Peetch.”
Amazingly, it’s been virtually untouched since their last visit.
At just 1,500 square feet, the cottage really is a “little one.”
However, with three bedrooms and no added cost for extra guests, it’s ideal for friends and family who don’t mind staying in close quarters.
After all, the kitchen is quite large, and that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time! Just look at everything Julia left behind …
It’s incredible to imagine Julia cooking in this space, with these very pots and pans! Each counter was built specifically for her 6’2” frame.
Many original details remain, including these labels that she made for shallots and garlic.
Most famous is her cork board organization, which keeps busy chefs from having to rummage through drawers for kitchenware. After Julia found a place for each item, her husband, Paul, outlined its shape with a felt-tip pen, ensuring that things would always be put away in the same spot.
They used the same technique in their Massachusetts home where The French Chef was filmed, but while she donated the contents of that kitchen to the Smithsonian Institute in 2001, this space exists just as she left it. The last dish she ever cooked here? “Provençal boeuf en daube,” otherwise known as beef stew.
In addition to renting the property, the Johnstons plan to host a cooking school at La Peetch. Although classes won’t begin until April 2017, there’s already been a lot of interest. For more details, click here.
As you can see in this photo taken by her husband, Julia was very much at home in her charming French cottage. We think we would be, too!
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H/T: Messy Nessy Chic