A copy of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, dog-eared, heavily scribbled in with my mother’s notes and covered with her gravy stains, will one day be passed on to me as a family heirloom. I didn’t know it then, but my childhood in Provence probably wouldn’t have tasted the same if it wasn’t for Julia Child, who helped my American mother in mastering the art of French cooking as she endlessly fought for the approval of her stubborn French mother-in-law.
In 1966, Julia and her husband Paul built “La Pitchoune” (Little Thing), a three-bedroom, 140 square meter cottage in the French countryside about a half hour drive from Cannes. Twelve years after she died, Julia’s second home where she tinkered with recipes in the kitchen on her La Cornue stove, is now available for rent on Airbnb.
The kitchen remains almost exactly as Julia left it in 1992, when a fellow American ex-pat and protégé took over the home and started a cooking school inspired by Julia.
When the New York Times photographed the kitchen in 2015, even Julia’s food labels were still on the storage containers for garlic and onions.
Only her La Cornue stove is gone, which she gave to the well-known food writer Patricia Wells. The last meal Julia cooked at La Pitchoune was a Provençale Boeuf en Daube.
The current owners, Colorado-based couple Yvonne and Makenna Johnston, purchased the cottage that “spurned a food movement in 1970’s Provence” via Sotheby’s in 2015 and have opened a new cooking school called La Peetch.
During the cooking school’s off-season, the couple are offering the property on Airbnb for $610 a night. A little pricey if you ask me, but if you gather a bunch of aspiring chef friends together, you’d be looking at just over $100/ night per head.