5 Things Emily in Paris Got Right About Paris

What Emily in Paris Got Right About Paris | On October 1st in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Emily in Paris certainly took me places.

The Sex and the City team is back at it again and gave us fashion, sex, drama, and Paris! The series made for a great escapist series that transported me to one of my favorite cities in the world.

As a self-confessed Francophile, I can’t pass up this Netflix series, and finished it in two days. And although the series is riddled with cliches, it was such a fun and binge-worthy TV show that I couldn’t stop. It provided a respite from our current dire realities, like a light-hearted antidote–Emily in Paris was a delightful watch, I love the fish-out-of-water experiences that any foreigner or expat could relate. It was certainly visual eye candy: the fashion, sights, attractions, and of course ohlala, the Frenchmen.

The response is mixed and divided. some people think it was riddled with clichés, while others lauded it for being such a binge-worthy treat. No matter what side of the fence are you on, it’s no denying that Emily in Paris was a great escapist series that transported me to the world’s most romantic city.

Even if Emily certainly had unrealistic parts, a new luxury handbag every day of the week, and swift approvals of her work ideas without thought of bureaucracy or budgets, let’s not get too anal and just enjoy it as it is!

Here are 5 things Emily in Paris certainly got right, and some things they missed:

(Disclaimer: This is just my experience though, and I’m speaking for myself…)

1 – French Cafe Experience

In the Philippines and U.S., both places I’ve lived in, the cafe is often the extension of the office–it’s a place where you can lug your laptop, charger, and textbooks to work/study. You order your drink and you stare down at your screen, cognizant of what is happening in your surroundings.

In France, that doesn’t quite happen. The cafe experience is quite novel in France. In the alfresco area, rather than chairs facing one another, the chairs are arranged facing towards the street. You will notice people just admiring the view, while having a smoke or enjoying coffee or wine.

The French cafe is a social place, not a workplace.

2 – Flirting

The French love to flirt. period. I’m not sure if the French people sleep around more than any other nationalities, but they certainly make less of a big deal out of it. What you see is what you get–they are very direct, not afraid to ask women out. The French are certainly more bold and forward than any other nationality. They are more sincere about how they feel about you. as day. They aren’t keen on wasting time and playing games

The French also do not see the point of ‘labeling’ a relationship. No such thing as ‘the talk’, and they will laugh at you when you confront them with ‘What are we?!?!’ For them, relationships are pretty straightforward–it’s either you’re together or you’re not.

You will really feel it if they want something more, if they just want a one-night-stand, or if they are just not interested. How they feel about you is as clear as day.

3 – Forgive them because they’re French

The ‘bad’ characteristics were well-played out to be quirky idiosyncrasies of the French characters: the philandering perfumer, the rude staff, chain-smoking colleagues, etc…

One of the best things about being French is that you can get away with a lot of things. In fact, ‘being French’ is a very lucrative get-away-with-it-pass for anyone. They drink too much? It’s because they’re French. They smoke too much? They’re lazy? They’re rude? French, French, French. They cheat on you with all your friends? They’re French, daah-ling.

They’re just so adorably French, we forgive them for being bad, because they are so unapologetic about it.

4 – French vs. American Ideals of Beauty

American ideals of beauty are… how can I say it best… ‘manufactured beauty’: salon blow-dried hair, whitened teeth, perfect smile brought by veneers/braces, bold lipstick, eyebrows on fleek. The works.

French beauty is more… understated. Elegant, but in a muted way.

Sure, they take great attention to their clothes (and more meticulously, perfume!), but they prefer to keep it simple with makeup: perfectly imperfect unkempt hair, minimalist makeup, consistent with their laissez-faire attitude towards beauty and life. Despite not knowing what a brush is, they still look tres chic.

5 – Joie de vivre

The French way of life, which is the pursuit of pleasure. ‘Joie de vivre’ a deep, almost defiant commitment to appreciating the good things in life.

Their attitude towards life and all other things is charming nonchalance: whether it’s beauty, dating, relationships, food, and even parenting and family life.

It’s about being present, to come to a party for the party, not like Emily setting self-serving objectives of professional networking or landing a client account. When in a party, we don’t talk about work…

Despite their delectable croissants and pain au chocolat, the French never get fat! They don’t do fad diets, but they modulate–they prefer small quantities of the real thing.

I think the secret to the French is the quality over quantity. The French shop clothes less, but they focus on quality and timeless items over hot trends and fast fashion.

Indulgence of the real thing–real food, good wine, meaningful sex, thoughtful fashion… I guess that’s why despite their many vices, they still manage to live a good and worthwhile life.

They do a pretty good work-life balance. And as one character in the movie said: we don’t live to work. we work to live.

What did Emily in Paris miss?

Here are some thing I think Emily in Paris forgot to mention (that I hope would make an appearance on Season 2)

  • Rallies. Rallies happen everywhere, everytime, everyday. They can even cancel work or the entire public system. I asked a French friend what was going on, and he responded: ‘je ne sais pas, some work thing. the French are always complaining of getting paid more and doing less!’
  • Shawarma and kebab stalls. French version of ‘drunk’ food or after-party food. I loved these, so good and well worth the money!
  • Metro scenes. Emily seemingly never took the Metro. I’d love to see her navigate through that mess!
  • Gare du Nord. Paris is not for the faint-hearted, especially when you are at Gare du Nord and surrounding areas. Scammers and gypsies abound who will scam you and steal you your money (can someone please tell me the politically correct word alternative for this). I caught someone literally red-handed, with her hand on my bag, and before I could grab her, she was gone the next second. I have been stolen a box of pizza here in Paris!

What did I miss? 🙂 Tell me what you love (and not love) about the show and the Parisians!


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