Guests can now book the entire property, and will undoubtedly host friendly, food-focused gatherings like Julia once did; during their tenure, the Childs invited notable friends like James Beard and M.F.K. Fisher to stay on several occasions.(Photo: Keith Flanagan)
Pulling yourself from Julia Child’s kitchen will be the hardest part of the trip to Provence. Then again, pulling yourself from the saltwater pool won't be any easier.
Weeks ago, the formerly quaint home went contemporary as a listing on Airbnb. The fairytale French cottage was the once-upon-a-time vacation home of Paul and Julia Child. Under new ownership, it's buzzing with bookings as it nears yet another chapter: It will operate next year as La Peetch, a casual cooking retreat for culinary neophytes.
Julia, of course, brought new language to fine food — coq au vin and beef bourguignon — in the USA. Her towering personality and cordial demeanor brightened American kitchens with an appreciation of French cuisine (and later in life, tortillas).
For that reason, her Provençal kitchen is the reason to visit.
And not because it’s state of the art: The square room is mostly as it was when the Childs designed it in the 1960s. But because, with Julia’s spirit still palpable, it’s timeless. Part utility, the walls are covered in pegboard, lined with over 100 cooking utensils like a culinary version of Home Depot. The serious kitchen is not without whimsy, as Paul and his brother cartoonishly painted outlines of each utensil to keep order. Nevertheless, the kitchen is the locus; a place to cook for friends and family, as Julia once did in the very same space.
Sure, over 9,600 Airbnb listings exist in Provence. Many of these are likely, and certainly, more sophisticated, affordable or central. There are hotels, too, that boast stunning pools — from heated to infinity — and 60,000-bottle wine cellars. But this listing, with three cozy bedrooms — each with matching twin beds — fidgety WiFi and a kitchen that hasn't been updated for decades, is somehow more than enough.
Because alas, Julia was here. Browse the slideshow above to see the rental and more of the famous chef's haunts stateside.