The story of a cheery Chicago marketing exec who lands a job with a French agency, Emily in Paris has certainly got the credentials, not least in showrunner Darren Star, whose CV includes Beverly Hills 90210 and the immortal Sex and the City. There’s a touch of that last show in Emily, though Star also compares it to The Devil Wears Prada and 1954 Audrey Hepburn flick Sabrina. Starring as Emily is Lily Collins, recently seen in the equally French Les Misérables on the BBC, but almost equal billing should go to Paris. The show has been shot almost entirely in the city and Star’s clout has won access to some of its most glittering and glamorous locations.
While a backpacking trip Star inspired the show took in his late teens, he’s aimed high, boldly declaring his intention to embrace the city’s beauty without shame and saying, ‘I revel in the clichés, I love it all.’ We’ll see Emily attending the opera at the legendary Palais Garnier, the magnificent monument to Napoleon III’s lavish reign in the late 19th century, all marble and gilt and aged French aristocrats (not to mention the famous phantom who lived in the cellars). She dines in the equally historic and every bit as gilded Le Grand Véfour (pictured below) on rue du Beaujolais, one of Paris’s oldest and most distinguished restaurants. Opened in 1784, this was a haunt of the (original) Napoleon as well as Victor Hugo and Jean Cocteau, and still has two Michelin stars, along with some of the most impressive mirrors in the city.
We’ll also find her on the Pont Alexandre III (pictured below), the flamboyantly ornate Beaux-Arts bridge that looks up towards the Champs-Elysées and down to the golden dome of Les Invalides. The bridge was seen in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, as was another Emily location, the Musée des Arts Forains, the funfair museum on avenue des Terroirs de France, on the south-eastern outskirts. Another favourite film locale is the Jardin du Luxembourg, and we will of course see our heroine taking a stroll in these perfectly landscaped surroundings too.
Just around the corner from there is Emily’s apartment. This being a Darren Star production, it’s in a picture-perfect square, Place de l’Estrapade in the 5th arrondissement, with a fountain at the centre (though the history is less sweet since it earned its name by being the site of public floggings). It’s also where her friend Gabriel’s restaurant is sited, along with her local bakery, though the interiors of her apartment were shot on a soundstage.
There’s more history in a location used in Episode 9, the Monnaie de Paris (pictured below). This imposing 18th-century neoclassical construction on the banks of the Seine is the French mint but here its exterior is the venue for a fashion show, with 250 extras and a lot of neon costumes. There’s also a visit to one of Paris’s newer galleries, L’Atelier des Lumières on rue Saint-Maur in the 11th. Opened in 2018 in a former foundry, this is a dazzling digital exhibition centre, where works of art are brought to life in immersive form, as we see with Emily’s trip to a Van Gogh exhibition.
We’ll even head out of the city and into the Loire Valley when Emily visits a very smart friend’s home supposedly in the Champagne region. For this, the production borrowed Le Château de Sonnay outside Tours, about 175 miles south-west of Paris. An impressive country estate, Sonnay is now well known as a wine producer and while there Emily takes the opportunity for a cycle ride through the vineyards. Then it’s back to the capital and the dream job posting of a lifetime for Emily and a new binge-watch for the rest of us.
Sex and the City fans will instantly recognize the name “Darren Star” as the iconic show’s creator. He also created the original Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Younger, and his new show is heading to Netflix this fall.
Here’s everything we know so far about Emily in Paris.
LILY COLLINS STARS IN EMILY IN PARIS.
Actress Lily Collins plays the titular character in Netflix’s Emily in Paris, which focuses on a woman who moves from Chicago to Paris for an incredible job opportunity. However, the relocation isn’t all smooth sailing. As creator Star told Variety, “[Emily is] not fully embraced by some of the French [characters]—she’s an American girl who comes to France and doesn’t speak any French, she has opinions about how to do things, but finds out ‘the American way is the best’ doesn’t always hold true and she makes a lot of faux pas.”
Even though there are bound to be some awkward moments for the show’s lead character, Star also revealed, “Emily learns from that experience, and it changes her idea of what success is.”
SEX AND THE CITY COMPARISONS ARE INEVITABLE.
Carrie Bradshaw’s move to Paris was an important part of Sex and the City, especially as it made her realize how much she missed New York. And even though Emily in Paris is sure to draw some comparisons to Sex and the City, the Netflix show is keen to make the French city its star. “Sex and the City looked beautiful, but this show is just gorgeous. It’s very cinematic,” Star told Variety. “Television is much more like cinema now and filming in Paris was important, so we really made all the shots look big. It’s shot more like a film than a TV series.”
Although the series is billed as a “romantic fantasy,” the show “embraces [that fantasy] but also punctures it at the same time,” Star revealed. Much like Carrie’s disastrous time in Paris.
EMILY IN PARIS HAS A COOL CAST.
Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice star Kate Walsh plays Emily’s mentor in the show. Meanwhile, several French actors, including Philippine Leroy Beaulieu, Lucas Bravo, Samuel Arnold, Camille Razat, and Bruno Gouery, will appear alongside Ashley Park, William Abadie, and Arnaud Viard.
The cast: Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply, To the Bone, Tolkien, The Last Tycoon) stars as Emily. Ashley Park (Mean Girls on Broadway) stars as Emily’s friend Mindy Chen. Other series regulars include Philippine Leroy Beaulieu (Call My Agent!), Lucas Bravo (Smart Ass), Samuel Arnold (Antony & Cleopatra), Camille Razat (The 15:17 to Paris), and Bruno Gouery (Doc Martin). Fan favorite—and Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice alum—Kate Walsh will have a recurring role, along with William Abadie (Resident Evil: Extinction) and Arnaud Viard (Clara et Moi).
The producing team: Darren Star (Younger, Sex and the City) created the series and also serves as writer and executive producer. Collins is also a producer. Says Star, “MTV Studios and I couldn’t hope for a more perfect home for Emily in Paris than Netflix. With their international reach, we are excited to share Emily with audiences around the world.”
Episode count: There will be 10 episodes at 30 minutes each.
Location: The series was filmed entirely on location in Paris and throughout France. Je suis tellement excité!
Collins also shared this behind-the-scenes photo while filming in the famed Palais Garnier in Paris.