Get Inspired

By Kiri Tannenbaum

Eat, Sleep, and Cook (!) in Julia Child’s Provence Home

The ultimate retreat for Julia Child fans; eating, cooking, sleeping and swimming at her French country home.

If it weren’t for second chances, owner Makenna Johnston (and the rest of us) wouldn’t have a chance to visit Julia Child’s summer house kitchen let alone cook in it.

But luckily, she got one. In November of 2015 Johnston, a 2007 graduate of Smith College, Julia Child’s alma mater, saw a Facebook posting on the alumnae page that the dame of French cooking’s Provencal home was on the market. Johnston, a huge fan of the “French Chef”, knew she wanted it immediately. When she called Sotheby’s, a bid had already been accepted. Still Johnston kept her eye on it and after some time noticing it was still listed, she contacted Sotheby’s for one more try. To her surprise, the original offer fell through. Soon La Pitchoune, or La Peetchas it was affectionately called by Child, was hers.

Johnston had gone into the sale knowing she wanted to do what Child would want: bring people into the home to learn to cook. Fortunately, during the ‘90s then owner Kathie Alex turned the home into a culinary school, and thankfully kept the Child’s kitchen intact, pegboard and all.

FirstJohnston rented the house via Airbnb, but now Johnston and her partner are hosting intimate cooking vacations where guests dine, cook, sleep and swim just as Julia Child once did.

The Basics:

La Peetch École de Cuisine is located in Chateauneuf-Grasse, France. The house is on the same sprawling property as her Mastering the Art of French Cooking co-author Simone Beck.

Cost: $3650 per person based on double occupancy, includes: cooking lessons, all breakfasts and lunches, excursions throughout the area, daily (optional) yoga, and of course plenty of wine from the region.
Dates: Weekly April through June; September through October 2018
Length: 6 days/5 Nights (Sunday – Friday)
Group Size: Limited to 6 guests; group options available (so book soon!)
Accommodations: Shared room with twin beds, en-suite bathroom, and access to the pool.

This all-inclusive dream cooking program is open for 2018 reservations.

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