Beginning in spring of 2017, your French vacation can also include cooking lessons in Julia Child’s summer home.
The culinary legend’s 1,500 square foot cottage in Provence, France, has been purchased by Colorado native Makenna Johnston and will be re-opened as a cooking retreat.
“I’ve been following Julia since I was a small child — I just find her so dynamic and larger than life,” Johnston told TODAY.com. “It was a no brainer,” she said of the decision to purchase the property when she saw an article about the house being for sale in the Smith College alumni magazine (both she and Child graduated from there).
The home — lovingly named “La Pitchoune” (translated to “The Little One”) by Child and her husband Paul — was used as a culinary school beginning in the ‘90s.
“When I found that out, my wheels started spinning,” Johnston, a business strategist and life coach, said. “I thought, why limit it to just my usage and a cooking school? Why not let other people use it as a retreat center?”
There are multiple ways guests can stay in the home. The first is through enrollment in the “Courageous Cooking” sessions. During the months of April through June and September through October, they will be hosting weekly all-inclusive vacations that include cooking lessons, local excursions and optional daily yoga sessions. Johnston’s wife, Evie, will lead the kitchen with experience from the International Culinary Institute in New York City. And Makenna, who will begin studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in early 2017, will act as the sous chef.
“We want to bring back accessible cooking,” she said of the types of lessons they’ll be teaching, which will include modernized techniques Child was taught. “Our target market is the same as hers.”
Another way La Pitchoune (or “La Peetch” as it’s sometimes referred to) can be used is as a venue or intimate retreat.
“A lot of [Julia’s] past friends and colleagues have ask to rent it,” Johnston said. “We expect people to use it to teach classes, launch books, and host retreats.”
And if you’re just interested in using it as a vacation rental, it will also be available on Airbnb. The three-bedroom, four-bath home sleeps six. It’s furnished with Louis XV-style pieces and includes an outside patio that overlooks a pool. There’s also a guest house on the property where the full-time concierge and property manager will live.
For more information or to book your stay at La Pitchoune, visit lapeetch.com.