France is a feast The photographic journey of Paul and Julia Child

Alex Prud'homme

Book - 2017

Through intimate and compelling photographs taken by her husband Paul Child, a gifted photographer, France is a Feast documents how Julia Child first discovered French cooking and the French way of life. Paul and Julia moved to Paris in 1948 where he was cultural attaché for the US Information Service, and in this role he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Brassai, and other leading lights of the photography world. As Julia recalled: "Paris was wonderfully walkable, and it was a subject for Paul." Their wanderings through the French capital and countryside, frequently photographed by Paul, would help lead to the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julia's brilliant and celebrated career in books and on television. Though Paul was an accomplished photographer (his work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art), his photographs remained out of the public eye until the publication of Julia's memoir, My Life in France, in which several of his images were included. Now, with more than 200 of Paul's photographs and personal stories recounted by his great-nephew Alex Prud'homme, France is a Feast not only captures this magical period in Paul and Julia's lives, but also brings to light Paul Child's own remarkable photographic achievement.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 770.92/Child Checked In
Illustrated works
New York : Thames & Hudson 2017.
Physical Description
207 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 26 cm
Main Author
Alex Prud'homme (author)
Other Authors
Katie Pratt (author), Paul Child, 1902-1994 (photographer)
  • Foreword / Katie Pratt
  • Prologue: A brimming cup / Alex Prud'homme
  • Paris, 1948-1953
  • Marseille, 1953-1954
  • Behind the shutter
  • A curry of a life
  • Epilogue: Everything is go.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Prud'homme, Paul Child's great-nephew and coauthor of Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France (2006), and Pratt, who grew up as a close family friend of the Childs, collaborate in celebration of Paul's photography. A globe-trotting autodidact with a love for food and art and 10 years her senior, Paul met Julia while they both worked for the OSS in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1944. After the war, the Childs lived in France and Germany for Paul's postings with the U.S. Foreign Service, where Paul pursued his passion for taking photos in his off-hours while Julia famously began her culinary journey. Julia's success brought her into the limelight and began a reversal of the Henry Higgins–Eliza Doolittle order of their marriage. Combining narratives about Paul, Julia, and their life together with pages upon pages of Paul's personal, sensitive, and highly aesthetic black-and-white photos, the authors contribute Paul's formidable photography—to which he devoted time, talent, and intellect—to the collective memory of an enduringly iconic chef and a fascinating American couple. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This visual journey is told by Prud'homme, great-nephew of Paul Child and coauthor of Julia Child's My Life in France, and Pratt, a photo curator whose parents were close to the Childs. Though the focus of the book is Paul's photography, it feels more like a biography of the couple than an artist catalog. Their time in Paris, from 1948 to 1953, encompasses half the work. Here, Julia discovers French cuisine; it would be more than a decade later that her first book, The Art of French Cooking, would launch her career. A year in Marseille and an examination of Paul's earlier years complete the text. Though carefully composed and with a photographer's keen eye, Paul's black-and-white photos better serve to illustrate the personal stories of the couple's adventures rather than to stand alone as an artist's work. More than 200 images of architecture and city street life are shown alongside pictures of Julia and their friends. VERDICT Fans of Julia Child will certainly enjoy this intimate view of the French Chef and her earliest years in the kitchen. Photographers may appreciate Paul Child's work as it captures midcentury France with charming simplicity.—Shannon Marie Robinson, Drexel Univ. Libs., Philadelphia Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Comprised of 225 black-and-white photographs by Paul Child, the husband of Julia Child, taken during the couple's time in France beginning in 1948, this intimate photo album delivers mesmerizing visual addenda to Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France. Paul, a career diplomat who later served as photographer for his wife's TV series, rarely left the house without at least one camera and produced an impressive number of photos, of which only a fraction are reproduced in these pages. Zeroing in on postwar Paris, the book covers the couple's early years in France and yields a unique perspective on postwar Europe as well as on the backstory of the woman whose name is synonymous with French cuisine in 20th-century America. The collection includes photos of Julia's days at the Cordon Bleu with fellow chefs, as well as snapshots of her at work amid pots and pans in the tiny kitchen of the couple's Paris apartment. In other photos, Paul plays with shadows and angles while shooting the streets of Paris or the fields of the French countryside. There are also the more everyday traveler's shots featuring a leggy Julia that illuminate the love story between the photographer and his muse. This thoroughly delicious book illustrates how two creative minds can impact public taste. Photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

From the co-author of My Life in France comes a revealing collection of photographs taken by Paul Child that document his and Julia Child’s years in France.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A collection of photographs by Julia Child's husband, Paul, document their years in Paris and Julia's discovery of French cooking and the French way of life, which would lead to her celebrated career as a cookbook author and television chef.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

France is a FeastMastering the Art of French CookingMy Life in FranceFrance is a Feast