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Experience Paris Through the Eyes of Julia Child

Moving to Paris inspired Child to study the art of French cooking – now you can follow in her footsteps.

May 3, 2024

Food is one of the driving reasons behind travel to France. Haute cuisine and its contemporary Nouvelle cuisine are known for outstanding flavors and artistic presentation. Cooking techniques vary across the country with every region utilizing its produce but gastronomy is deeply rooted in French culture.

We have Julia Child to thank for introducing French cuisine to supper tables in the United States. The American relocated to Paris in the late 1940s and swiftly enrolled at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Upon graduation, she undertook private tuition with the esteemed Max Bugnard and went on to become a chef.

The first volume of Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published in 1961 with the second following in 1970. Their success resulted in the production of her television show, The French Chef. Of course, it’s impossible to beat the experience of visiting Paris in person to eat, explore, and connect with culture just as Julia Child once did. 

Luxury accommodations at Hôtel Pont Royal 

Julia Child spent her first month in Paris living at the Hôtel Pont Royal while she searched for a permanent place to put down roots – this turned out to be 81 Rue de l’Universite, or “Roo de Loo”.

This 5-star hotel is credited as containing the first bar in Paris to serve cocktails and Child was known to have enjoyed the Upside-Down Martini during her residency. These days the Signature Bar hosts weekly jazz nights popular with guests and Parisians. The hotel also maintains a Michelin-starred restaurant and select rooms grant an Eiffel Tower view. 

Parisian cuisine

Follow in Julia Child’s footsteps by ordering a café complet at Les Deux Magots – a bistro previously associated with Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. This simple breakfast includes a cup of coffee and fresh bread served with butter and jam. 

The first meal Julia Child consumed in France in 1948 comprised oysters, sole meunière, and a green salad with a lightly acidic vinaigrette. She claims to have fallen in love on the spot, thus starting her culinary journey in Rouen even before reaching Paris. 

Oysters are available in Parisian restaurants all year although they’re best eaten during oyster season (between September and April). Head to Bulot Bulot Oyster Bar in Montmartre where natural and dressed oysters are served alongside mineral white wines and Champagne. Sole meunière is a classic French dish consisting of fried sole dressed with hot melted butter, lemon juice, and parsley. 

Child and her husband became regulars at Le Grand Véfour where she enjoyed working her way through such other typical dishes as escargots à la bourguignonne, pressed duck, and rich chocolate mousse. 

Photo by Klaus Nielsen on Pexels

Short cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu

The cooking school has maintained a campus in Paris since 1895 where students  – including Child – earn diplomas in Cuisine, Pastry, Boulangerie, and Oenology. Since 2023, Le Cordon Bleu has teamed up with the historic Hôtel de la Marine to offer short workshops.

These replicate the professional courses but are condensed to accommodate even the briefest vacation in Paris. These are available as workshops and masterclasses while demonstrations are available to those on a shorter time frame. 

Contact Darby at Darby’s Destinations when you are ready to book your culinary exploration of Paris.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?