Julia Child's home in France is sold

 La Pitchoune

Last fall we reported that Julia Child's home in France, La Pitchoune, was for sale. Speculation abounded as to what would become of the house, which Child built on land owned by her best friend, Simone Beck, who co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Recently we learned that Makenna Johnston, an alumnus from Smith College (the same university that Child attended) purchased the home and has plans to turn it into a culinary retreat center. Johnston grew up in a family of Francophiles, and she herself is a big fan of Julia. "I watched reruns on PBS, and I used to imitate her voice," Johnston says.

When she saw the article announcing that the house was for sale, Johnston was intrigued but didn't think it was in the cards. However, after she and her family learned that Paris was under attack, she decided to seriously consider purchasing the home. "When [that] happened, I started thinking about how Julia Child was a total peacenik. She worked for the government, and the best word from back then is she was very democratic. She was very involved in improving communities through food," Johnston says.

She and her wife, Yvonne, conceived of a "project devoted to Child's legacy of joy, compassion, and sharing the love of food." Yvonne, who left her full-time military career in 2014, enrolled in culinary school. The pair gathered together a few investors and made an offer on La Pitchoune, which was accepted. After closing, they plan to make the house "a cooking retreat with excursions in yoga." It "will be a home base for a center on culinary exploration, peace, and community," Johnston shared with the Smith College community.

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