Most fans of the late culinary great Julia Child know her best through her recipes; you might even say that her cookbooks are more personal than reading her diary. But that seems to pale in comparison to a new opportunity beginning in 2017: Julia Child’s summer home in Provence, France will be opening up to the public as “a cooking retreat,” according to Today.
The biggest perk of staying at the cottage is obvious: getting a chance to cook in the same exact kitchen that Julia Child used for countless summer recipes.
Child, an American, lived with her husband Paul in France for nearly three decades. The couple spent every summer at their 1,500-sq.-ft. cottage. It is located on a hillside in Plascassier, which is a 30-minute drive from the city of Cannes.
The house had previously operated as a cooking school during the 1990s under the ownership of Kathie Alex before a Boston couple, Makenna and Yvonne Johnston, purchased the property. The duo then began making arrangements to re-open the house as a retreat — a retreat which includes plenty of cooking classes too, of course. The Johnstons call their venture “Courageous Cooking.”
Yvonne, who has experience at the International Culinary Institute in New York City, will be leading the classes. Makenna, who is soon beginning her own studies at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, will act as sous chef.
The couple explained that goal of their “Courageous Cooking” sessions is in the spirit of Child’s own cooking habits. Julia Child first became popular in the 1960s when she began writing cookbooks which made French cuisine more accessible to Americans. Many say that Child’s 30 cookbooks, as well as her WGBH-Boston television show “The French Chef,” are responsible for single-handedly creating an interest in French cuisine in the States.
To this day, Childs remains a major draw for American tourists visiting France.
“For those unable to get a booking in her retreat in the south of France, there are still ways to experience Julia Childs’ Paris when staying in the City of Light,” said Rik Gitlin, Private Concierge at Paris Copia.
“Walking tours through the amazing food markets she used for her own Paris cooking are available today. Spend time getting to know the shops and stalls that are still in the same place they were when she was doing her shopping. Cheese shops, boulangeries, cafés, along with lovely traiteurs selling prepared dishes for dinner at home in your Paris apartment. What can be better than picking a rôtisserie chicken stuffed with lemon, thyme, and garlic, picking up a few soft cheeses, a crunchy pain au cereal or baguette, some fresh greens (dozens to choose from) and a great Bordeaux red for your own dinner at home?”
Airbnb is facilitating the booking process and reservations can be made starting this June, although the house itself won’t open up until sometime in the spring of 2017. The three-bedroom house sleeps six, making this one of the more unique vacation rentals in France. Rates to stay at the house start at $590 USD per night, and “Courageous Cooking” sessions start at $2,550 USD.