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.

In the early 1960s, Julia and Paul Child built a French country home in the picturesque village of Plascassier in Provence. Though it’s been several decades since Child turned the stove on in her French country kitchen, the doors have recently been opened for fans of “The French Chef” to eat, sleep, and cook in the legendary cook’s home thanks to its newest owner, Makenna Johnston.

How did this gorgeous country home fall into the hands of Johnston? In November 2015, Johnston, a graduate of Smith College, Julia Child’s alma mater, saw a Facebook posting on the alumnae page that the dame of French cooking’s Provençal home was on the market. Johnston, a huge admirer of Child, knew she wanted to own the home immediately. When she called Sotheby’s realty, it was already too late. A bid had been accepted. Still Johnston kept a hopeful eye on the property and after some time noticed the listing had not yet come down, she decided to contact Sotheby’s one last time. Good thing she did. The original offer on the property had fallen through and soon La Pitchoune, or “La Peetchas” as it was affectionately called by the couple, was hers.

Johnston went into the sale knowing she wanted to do what Julia Child would want—to maintain its legacy by gathering friends and strangers into the home to cook and eat beautiful meals. 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.

In the beginning, Johnston rented the house via Airbnb, but now Johnston and her partner, who also went to culinary school, are hosting intimate cooking vacations where guests can 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.

What’s Included:

Stays include cooking lessons, all breakfasts and lunches, excursions throughout the area, daily (optional) yoga, and of course plenty of wine from the region.

This could be you!

Cost: $3,650 per person based on double occupancy,
Dates: Available spots in April, May, and October 2018 for the culinary school, other dates available for group house rental
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 and for weddings beginning in 2020.

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