I just found out that Julia Child’s beautiful French cottage is on Airbnb and I need to visit it ASAP
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If you’re still on the hunt for the most dreamy post-pandemic vacation destination possible, I have a suggestion for you. How about a cozy 1960s chalet in the south of France, just 35 minutes from Nice-Côte d’Azur airport and minutes from a relaxing swimming pool, a well-stocked fish shop and of the kitchen that Julia Child herself has been cooking for years?
La Pitchoune, which is available for rent on Airbnb, offers all these amenities and more, depending on when you want to book your stay. Built on the former property of Simone Beck, who co-wrote Mastering the art of French cuisine with Julia Child and Louisette Bertholle, La Pitchoune now belongs to Makenna Held, an American who bought the little chalet when she saw it written in The New York Times in 2015. Held runs home cooking classes in the fall and early summer, but anyone can rent the chalet in the winter, usually December through February. (You can also book a mostly inclusive experience at La Pitchoune during the summer months, including free grocery delivery, chef-cooked meals, and wine)on the room’s website.)
During those off-season months, any group of family and friends can enjoy the three-bedroom chalet, which has six single beds and a kitchen perfect for group dining. The kitchen is set up as much as the child left it, pegboard and all, so you’ll feel like you’re cooking in the Smithsonian Museum itself. There is an indoor fireplace to keep you warm and cozy during the colder months (and an area to eat outside when the weather is perfect). Reviewers say the house just outside Grasse is rustic and beautiful, while one says it offers “a wonderful and unique experience in an incredible part of the country”.
The house does not have a TV and the owners say the wifi can be spotty so be sure to bring a group of fun friends (and maybe playing cards) with you on this trip. You’ll also want to hire a small car for these vacations – the house has several parking spaces and is just a 10-minute drive from several villages where you can buy food or find a reliable internet connection. Reviews say that if you’re not totally comfortable driving in an unfamiliar area, owners will be happy to answer questions and give you tips on how to navigate the area. More than anything, former guests say they could barely bear to pack up and leave once their scenic vacation was over.
“I have delayed writing this review because I’m still so sad that we had to leave a week ago,” wrote one person. “Staying at La Peetch was one of the best experiences of my life. My husband, four friends and I spent five nights at the house and loved every minute of it. The house is amazing and in great condition (a little less rustic than I expected), and the pool is A ++. And, needless to say, every minute in the kitchen was pure bliss. “
As our sister publication Food and wine reportsHeld’s Courageous Cooking School classes focus on learning to cook without a recipe, and they include trips to local markets and restaurants to understand why Child fell in love with France in the first place. You can book one of Held’s week-long cooking classes on the La Peetch website.
Whether you decide to go the academic route or just book a trip with your friends for the New Year, you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. in this historic house.