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Own a Piece of Julia Child’s France

Friday, December 11, 2015

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Perhaps the former French holiday home of renowned Chef Julia Child will inspire its new owner to cook up some Coq au Vin while sipping on a glass of sweet Sauternes white burgundy (even if the recipe calls for red).

Or, perhaps, the La Pitchoune—French for “The Little Thing”—in the Provençal village of Plascassier will serve as just a nice place to escape city life.


The French cottage of Julia Child, the notable French chef who started a cooking school; wrote books about French cooking; and was an admired TV personality, is for sale for the first time.

Child gave up the home in the early 1990s, according to Sotheby’s International Realty, which is offering the home for about $860,000 (€ 800,000).

The 1,614-square-foot cottage made Top Ten Real Estate Deals’ weekly list on Tuesday (Dec. 8).

Intro to French Cooking

After her husband Paul, who served as Diplomat and in other civil roles in the United States Foreign Service, was assigned to Paris, he introduced his wife, Julia, to French cooking and French wine. Although the couple called Cambridge, MA, home, they reportedly missed France terribly, according to the website.

Child's time in Paris set off a notable cooking career. After her husband retired from civil service in 1961, the couple built the cottage on land that belonged to one of her best friends, Sotheby’s reported.

The house is called La Pitchoune—French for “The Little Thing”—and is in the Provençal village of Plascassier. It has four bedrooms; four baths; a pool; and an original Child kitchen.

Her first kitchen in Cambridge—which included raised countertops to accommodate Child’s 6-foot-2-inch height—served as a model for the one in her French cottage. The original Cambridge kitchen is now in the Smithsonian Museum, according to Sotheby’s. But the one in France? It remains untouched.

Celebrity Status

Child became an international celebrity with her love of French cooking. She enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu and later joined the women’s cooking club Le Cercles des Gourmettes, the real estate site said. It was there that she would meet two women with whom she would start a small cooking school in what was, at that time, Child’s Paris kitchen.

Child authored "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 1961. She later was the star of several television shows that were filmed from her Cambridge kitchen, which her husband had built large enough to accommodate the TV cameras, the real estate site said. Sotheby’s notes that in 1981, Child founded the American Institute of Wine & Food with notable wine legends.

The kitchen that has been untouched since Child's days there, including unusally high countertops that accommodated her 6-foot-2-inch height.

And it was her love for wine that sometimes led to her criticism. As her shows became institutions in the culinary world, Child was admired for her awkwardness—and perhaps tipsiness—for sipping on the wine that she often included in her recipes, the real estate site said.

Cottage After Child’s Heart

Child died in 2004 and gave the cottage to the friends from whom she and her husband had leased the land, the site said. This is the first time it has been offered for sale.

For a price of about $860,000, owners also get 1/2 acre, a woodburning fireplace, a terrace, a well-landscaped lot and a carport. The cottage even has a separate studio.

Sotheby’s reports that the home has four bedrooms, four full baths and sits on nearly ½ acre of land. The house has a “charming living room” with a wood-burning fireplace; the kitchen with its original equipment; three “cozy” bedrooms with in-suite bathrooms in the house; and a separate studio that offer a fourth bedroom, a kitchenette and a bath.

Well landscaped grounds also include a carport, a terrace and a swimming pool, Sotheby’s said.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Artists; Color + Design; Europe; Interior design; Residential

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