I Just Found Out That Julia Child's Beautiful French Cottage Is on Airbnb—and I Have to Visit ASAP
If you're still looking for the dreamiest possible post-pandemic vacation destination, I have a suggestion for you. How about a cozy, 1960s cottage in the south of France, just 35 minutes from the Nice-Côte D'Azur Airport and mere moments away from a relaxing pool, a well-stocked poissonnerie (fish shop) and the kitchen Julia Child herself cooked in for years?
La Pitchoune, which is available to rent on Airbnb, offers all those 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 Cooking with Julia Child and Louisette Bertholle, La Pitchoune now belongs to Makenna Held, an American who bought the little cottage when she saw it written up in The New York Times in 2015. Held runs cooking classes at the house in the fall and early summer, but anyone can rent the cottage in the winter, typically from December to February. (You can also book a mostly-inclusive experience at La Pitchoune in the summer months—including free grocery delivery, chef-cooked meals and wine—on the venue's website.)
During those off-season months, any group of family and friends can enjoy the three-bedroom cottage, which has six single beds and a kitchen perfect for group meals. The kitchen is set up much as Child left it, pegboard and all, so you'll feel as if you were cooking in the Smithsonian Museum itself. There's 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 of Grasse is rustic and gorgeous, while one says it offers "a wonderful, unique experience in an amazing part of the country."
The house doesn't have a television and the owners say the wifi can be spotty, so make sure you bring a fun group of friends (and maybe some playing cards) with you on this trip. You'll also want to rent a small car for this vacation—the house has multiple parking spots and is just a 10-minute drive from multiple villages where you can buy food or find reliable internet. Reviewers say that if you're not totally comfortable driving in an unfamiliar area, the owners are happy to answer questions and give you tips on how to navigate the area. More than anything, former guests say they could hardly bear to pack up and leave once their picturesque vacation came to an end.
"I've been putting off writing this review because I am still so sad we had to leave a week ago," one person writes. "Staying at La Peetch was one of the best experiences of my life. My husband, four friends and I stayed at the house for five nights and loved every minute of it. The house is amazing, and in great shape (a bit 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 & Wine reports, the classes at Held's Courageous Cooking School focus on learning to cook without a recipe, and they include excursions to local markets and restaurants to get a sense of 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 in the new year, you're sure to make memories that will last a lifetime in this historic house.