Emily in Paris is the latest Netflix series everyone is talking about, that follows a social media marketer (very questionable) to Paris as she joins Savoir – the French branch of her American marketing agency. I binged it in one go this week and went from loving the concept, to hating it, to cringing every two minutes, all while simultaneously loving it and desperate for season 2. I could talk about this program all day and for four different reasons. The social media, the fashion, the stereotypes and the Emily in Paris locations.
As a social media manager for a company with an office in Paris that I have been to a lot the last three years, I initially found it relatable. I’m talking about the first five minutes ONLY, when she finds out she has to move to Paris to work for luxury French brands. The dream. That’s almost where the relatability ends and thank god.
Emily arrives in Paris, starts taking awful selfies and walks into the office full of her French colleagues where she makes one cringe inducing faux pas after another. It’s downhill from there in so many ways.
Emily in Paris Fashion
I’ll get the fashion out of the way first. Her outfits are hideous. I think I liked one in total out of ten episodes. Her boss Sylvie however – big fan of some of her outfits, that she sashays around in full of disdain for Emily. She’s not exactly a nice person, but I think she’s great, and she frequently has a point.
Also Mindy, everyone needs a friend like Mindy and she can pull off her outfits, as can Camille. Poor Camille, nobody needs a friend (or boots – see below pic) like Emily.
The French Stereotypes
Now for the stereotypes. I’ve read many a review and Emily in Paris is getting slammed for the French stereotypes. They are frequent, they are big and obvious, and to the French they’re clearly offensive. It portrays them as lazy, chain smoking, adulterers with controversial opinions on objectifying women. There are a good few American stereotypes in there too, so it’s not exactly the most subtle of shows for that reason.
I really enjoyed this Vogue article by a Canadian in Paris, I think it describes some of the stereotypes very well.
For the record, all my French colleagues are lovely and I’ve not experienced anything like what Emily does when I’ve been working in Paris. My lack of French makes me feel uncomfortable, but only because it’s my ignorance not theirs and I feel bad for it.
I do however agree with Emily on one cliche, the pain au chocolates are that good.
Emily’s Social Media
Now for the social media. I just cant. I wouldn’t employ her in a million years. One of the most annoying scenes is where the French cosmetic brand Duree think she creates good content. When she ate the berry off the wall I died inside about four times over. Her content is dreadful, her captions are awful, dont get me started on her hashtags and it’s just not believable.
I get frustrated with most films or TV shows that tackle social media as a profession, because I think it’s hard to do right, and we have enough misinformed judgement on it without programs like this adding to it by simply throwing a few buzzwords in like ‘engagement’ and ‘influencer’. But, we wouldn’t have a program if it wasn’t for all this and despite what I’ve said I just love it. It might not be believable or realistic, but it’s addictive.
And finally, the Emily in Paris locations.
The backdrop of the series is every bit as aesthetic, beautiful, romantic, and fabulously French as I know Paris to be. It’s just stunning and watching it made me so sad at the lack of travel we can do this year. We actually have a trip to Paris booked for next year and I just hope we can go. If it wasn’t for Corona, Emily in Paris would have probably had me booking up for this weekend.
Here’s some of the best Emily in Paris locations you can spot while watching.
Episode 1 – Place de l’Estrapade and Jardin des Tuileries
Naturally when Emily arrives in the taxi we see some of the typical landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. In addition to this we see her moving into her old building apartment in a charming little square with a fountain. This is Place de l’Estrapade, which you can find near the Pantheon in central Paris.
The Jardin des Tuileries is where Emily first meets Mindy, and we see them there a couple more times, including when Mindy gives her public rendition of La Vie en Rose. Stretching out between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries is a big public park perfect for a walk through, where locals jog, or just to relax on the loungers by the fountains. It’s also where the Christmas market is, and has views of the Eiffel Tower. Just don’t take photos of kids playing by the fountain like Emily does for her Instagram (told you she’s not a social media professional).
Episode 2 – Jardin du Luxembourg and La Madeleine
Jardin du Luxembourg is where Emily goes jogging, and it’s actually near her apartment so they got the location quite well suited for this. The gardens around Palais du Luxembourg, which was once a royal residence are another good spot to go for a walk or just to relax. Visit the Saint Germain neighbourhood afterwards, there’s some gorgeous cafes for wine and Camembert.
When Emily breaks up with her boyfriend over the phone, her cringey speech about the passion of Paris is delivered while she is stood in front of La Madeleine. The enormous church is pretty impressive, and so is the street that leads away from it down to Place de la Concorde.
Lined with designer names enjoy a window shop as you stroll down, and duck off into Le Village Royal, a courtyard with more shops and a lovely restaurant. If you see Baby Dior and Chanel you’ve found it, but they often have artistic exhibitions on including the umbrellas last year.
Episode 3 – Pont Alexandre III
The risqué perfume advert of episode 3 is filmed across the Pont Alexandre III bridge, one of the most elegant, ornate and extravagant bridges that crosses the Seine. It’s absolutely beautiful, and as well as being a sight in itself it offers some of the most spectacular views of Paris too.
Episode 5 – Place Vendome and La Maison Rose
Emily attends the Duree ‘influencer lunch’ in episode 5, at a grand hotel on Place Vendome. Another of my most favourite squares in Paris, this one is breathtaking. It is home to a pretty impressive hotel too, the Paris Ritz, and is a French luxury brand hotspot with giant Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Cartier stores.
One of the most instagram’d spots in all of Paris also features in this episode, when Emily discusses how Sylvie has told her to delete her instagram account with Mindy at La Maison Rose. This cafe and the street they walk down, where they end up staging the bed for the photo opportunity really was voted one of the prettiest in Paris. It is as well, and can be found up in Montmartre. It gets very busy though, so if you want to see it without the crowds head up there at about 6am.
For this street and a few others, have a look at my post on the prettiest streets in Paris.
Episode 6 – Cafe de Flore and Palais Garnier
These two Emily in Paris locations are predictable touristy. I find it quite ironic that after the famous French designer Pierre Cadeau calls Emily a ‘basic bitch’ (she fully is, with her beret and Eiffel Tower bag charm) she goes for a glass of wine at Cafe de Flore. The cafe that was once the haunt of the bourgeois Parisians, has turned into a tourist hotspot, with its beautiful exterior, great place to people watch and for being frequented by famous faces. Expect to pay through the roof for anything you order.
When Emily tries to win back Pierre Cadeau, she ambushes him at the Palais Garnier, the majestic Paris opera house and quite possibly one of my favourite buildings in Paris. I’ve never been inside, but I would really love to. Emily being the out of towner that she is buys tickets for Swan Lake. If you are visiting the ballet or the opera here, have dinner at the nearby Cafe de la Paix, it does a fabulous seafood platter but again be prepared to part with some money for the occasion.
Episode 7 and 9 – Montmartre
By now the plot is quite far fetched, after a trip to Champagne and Emily finding herself responsible for a 2 million euro watch on an American film star (told you far fetched), Emily’s dreamy neighbour invites her to watch the sun come up with a crepe from a place he knows in Montmarte. She may turn him down, but there are plenty of crepe stands in Montmartre and they taste delicious so I’d advise you never to turn one down.
Episode 9 – Ralphs’s Restaurant
The final new location we see is when Emily meets a rep of AFL (American Friends of the Louvre) at a restaurant in Saint Germain for lunch. They’re eating at Ralphs restaurant, and Emily is shocked to find the menu in English. It may not be the most French place, but it is lovely and worth a visit – read my review of Ralph’s here.
I was a bit surprised for a series full of cliches that places like Laduree, Norte Dame and the Champs Elysees didnt feature more, but to quote Emily frequently, ‘C’est la vie’. Don’t let my scathing comments on the fashion or her social media put you off watching. If you’re looking for a light hearted, easy watch on a cosy rainy afternoon over the coming weeks, or you want a bit of travel escapism then Emily in Paris will be the binge watch you love to hate. Like everyone else I’m desperate for season 2. And I’m desperate to revisit all the Emily in Paris locations.
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