Emily in Paris: What the Series Gets Right and Wrong About Living in Paris
Updated: Oct 15
There's a new Netflix series that has been making the rounds across social media. Critics have hated it, viewers have loved it, and while there are plenty of foreigners living in France that find it relatable, there are countless more that find it unrealistic. That's right, I'm talking about Emily in Paris - the trending series starring Lily Collins about an all-American girl who finds herself sticking out like a sore thumb in Paris. The series is produced by Darren Star, the same creative genius behind Sex and the City, so as one can expect, the show is high on fashion, full of romance, and short on reality. So let's dive right in and see what the show gets right, and what it gets embarrassingly wrong, about life in Paris according to the GGIs that live there.
"All my friends who don't live in Paris love it, all of us who live in Paris hate it." - Erica P.
" What it gets right: people, even ones you don't know, correcting your French (especially le/la)" - Kristen A.
"The guy in the meeting was right. Americans are way too loud. I've been corrected for my volume - so what? When in France do as the French do." - Kels Z.
"I managed to watch the first episode before losing my mind and giving up. The lead character is (paradoxically) the stereotypical arrogant American, totally culturally ignorant, romanticizing everything. Totally unrealistic portrayal of Paris as well. The only thing that they got right was the fact that French people tend to disapprove you or correct you if you don't speak perfect French. Other than that, I couldn't enjoy the series because of the incredible amount of ignorant clichés. I say paradoxically because the series manages to provide stereotypical characters on both ends: the Americans end up being represented as stereotypically naïve, tone-deaf and narrow-minded, even though that's not what real people are; and the French are represented as stereotypically rude, flirty, lazy, etc., which again is an ignorant generalization." - Eleanore F.
"I worked in an agency just earlier this year where the big boss would smoke in his office. It’s how we knew the rare times that he was actually at the office. Even though technically this isn’t allowed, it’s not entirely inaccurate." - Emily J.
"It’s cute, but I try not to take it too seriously. It’s very unrealistic how many people randomly talk to her, especially French people. " -Mary U.
"The only true fact is that Parisians are cold when they don’t know you. And we do drink wine." - Cynthia M.
"As a French person who has been living in Paris for 10 years, I hated this movie. It's just a mountain of clichés...I had the same feeling with Sex and the City or Midnight in Paris. They show a Paris that American people imagine, but this is not the Paris I know." - Valentina S.
"She would never have an apartment that size unless she was extremely wealthy. Nor would her neighbor, the chef, have a kitchen that spacious. " - Kristen A.
"I think she could have that kind of apartment considering the American firm is paying for it. She does mention a relocation package, so that part is fair enough." - Helena S.
"She does not live in a chambre de bonne, a real one is the size of a bathroom." - Cynthia M.
"I originally moved to Paris in 1990. I had two chambres de bonne combined with a fancy pullout couch, toile de jouy wallpaper and a fancy bathroom. I was a part-time au pair. Very sophisticated family. It’s all relative." -Catriona L.
"When I first came to Paris I lived in a chambre de bonne. The toilet worked on a pump like you would use on a boat. I couldn’t shave my legs in the shower it was so small. It did have a nice area view though." -Lyndee L.
"The most accurate part was when the maintenance guy was trying to fix her shower and then was like, "no..." and tried to leave. I had the same experience when someone came to fix my toilet. He said he needed to go get a part and looked super flustered and then never actually returned." -Andrea M.
Living in the City
"They completely whitewash the city. It's like a giant Disney amusement ride. Sanitized and stale." - Kels Z.
"What else they get wrong: Paris being that clean, no SDF, and no pickpockets with their sketchy surveys or whatever scheme they're up to these days." -Kristine A.
"I found some of the experiences she had I’d experienced myself in terms of culture shock. I do speak French but not fluent yet, I’m B1 level, and I’ve found integrating outside friends and family of my partner extremely difficult." -Laura E.
"I loved seeing her neighborhood, which was my old neighborhood. The boulangerie and her neighbor’s restaurant are real places that are actually right in the same square as her apartment building. The 'flower shop' next to her apartment is an office supply store in real life, though." -Gina O.
"Not enough dog shit in the streets and on the sidewalks. It's literally everywhere. I’m always looking down." -Marinela K.
" I think it's quite nice that Paris looks nice and clean for once (even if it's not true). Also, a BIG missing part: The Metro!!" -Miriam M.
Is the show perfect? No. But does it offer up a fun and easy escape from reality? Sure it does - in more ways than one. And I for one am not ashamed to admit that I hate-watched the entire thing in a single day.