In the Paris Footsteps of Julia Child

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In the Paris Footsteps of Julia Child
Julia Child, the exuberant home cook with a charming curiosity about the food of her adopted home, opened up new epicurean paths for Anglophones around the world. She lived in Paris for four years from 1948-1952. For Julia, the City of Light wasn’t “lite,” it was full-on, full-fat, unconcerned with waistbands and budgets. She reveled in the food and friendships Paris had to offer. With her husband Paul at her side and size-12s on her feet, Julia unraveled the snail of Paris arrondissements. Restaurants topped her list, but she found useful addresses and hidden corners too. Sometimes the duo darkened surprising doorways as they stayed up till dawn. Some of her favorite haunts still remain open, more than 70 years later. By the time Julia Child arrived in Paris, she was suffering the pleasant shock of a culture different from her middle-of-the-road American one. The French were not “dark and dirty” as her father had foretold; conversely French women were not “icky-picky” or dainty, and the men didn’t archly twirl their moustaches. She had experienced the distinct character of each town they passed through between Le Havre and Paris and by the time they arrived at the Hotel Pont-Royal in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Julia was already a little in love with France. Hôtel Pont Royal, 7 Rue de Montalembert in the 7th. © Norio Nakayama, Wikimedia Commons From her hotel at 7 rue Montalembert in the 7th arrondissement, she “wandered the city, got lost and found herself again.” Her husband Paul on the other hand was very familiar with the city and took Julia on their first Paris Saturday to Les Deux Magots where the two ordered a café-complet. Les Deux Magots, photo by Robyn Lee/ Public domain They then wended their way across the Seine, through the Tuileries and up to Sacré-Coeur to take in the full effect of the whole city. All the way up and all the way down again to the restaurant called Michaud at 29 rue des Saints-Pères. Using the red Michelin guide as their handbook, they decided that what suited them best were meals at a medium quality and expense which were rated by two-crossed forks. Michaud was a two-forker which turned into their favorite place for a time. It is now Le Comptoir des Saints-Pères, where Rue Jacob turns into Rue de l’Université.

Lead photo credit : Julia Child in her kitchen in Provence

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.


  • Beth Gersh-Nesic
    2022-06-30 07:46:50
    Beth Gersh-Nesic
    Magnifique, Hazel! Vive the spirit of Julia Child.