Emily in Paris is Netflix’s #1 show in the United States and many other countries following its debut Friday. Many people, including me, opted for escapism this weekend and Emily in Paris certainly delivered. The fictional series follows the story of Emily Cooper of Chicago (played by Lily Collins), who gets an opportunity to work in Paris when her company acquires a French luxury marketing firm. Emily is thrown headfirst into the cultural differences that abound between the Americans and the French, often to humorous results (and often at her own expense). The filming locations for Emily in Paris are an ode to Paris — predominantly hitting up the most iconic and familiar sites but also highlighting more obscure museums and lesser-trod parts of Paris.
As Emily struggles to adapt to even the most mundane of differences, like how the the first floor is really the second floor in France, Parisian romances seem to be literally around every corner. Her downstairs neighbor Gabriel turns out to be a handsome chef (played by Lucas Bravo), bemused and attracted by her Americanness, but there is soon a love triangle when Emily meets Camille (played by Camille Razat), Gabriel’s girlfriend who is that rare combination of too nice and pretty to hate. She meets a kindred spirit in Mindy (played by Ashley Park, from Mean Girls on Broadway), the heir to the “Zipper King of Asia” who has dreams to be a singer but is working as an au pair. Lily’s prickly boss is Sylvie (played by Phillipine Le Roy-Beaulieu, from Call My Agent! on Netflix). By the end of the first season of Emily in Paris, Emily finds a part of herself she would not have discovered had she stayed in Chicago. There are some clichés, which seems unavoidable in Hollywood’s treatment of Paris, but you’ll also find clichés about Americans displayed in the show too.
We’re seeing reports of people binging the Emily in Paris one setting, and promptly having dreams of Paris, chocolate croissants, and romance. The purpose of this article is to share the fabulous filming locations for Emily in Paris. But first for the dreamers, I’m here to tell you that even though the show is fiction, the kinship between the Americans and French is a real thing. I would know, as I got my own Parisian romance a decade ago scootering through Paris at night, eating lots of pain au chocolat and raclette, drinking countless bottles of wine from Saint-Emillion, and trying to speak French.
I used to work as a fashion merchandiser for companies like Calvin Klein, J. Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch, then took a break to tour as a cellist with an indie rock band, before going back to graduate school at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, where I founded Untapped New York. I met my future husband Augustin while backpacking in Bolivia of all places, after doing earthquake relief work in Peru. I was with my crew of American friends and he was with his crew of French guys — and we all had a hilarious evening together pretty much making fun of each other. I was already planning to do a semester in Paris with Columbia a few months later so I got in touch when I arrived.
On our first date, Augustin took me for drinks in the Latin Quarter where I lived, scootered across Paris to a friend’s dinner where I had raclette for the first time, and the rest is history. That year, Augustin even took me to the Paris Dîner en Blanc, the pop-up white party which originated there. Two years later, he moved to New York City to work for L’Oreal, we got married in 2014, I roped him into becoming the CEO for Untapped New York, and we had our daughter Charlotte in 2017. Now I also teach architecture in the very program I attended at Columbia University (New York/Paris: The Shape of Two Cities), sending off more wide-eyed Americans to discover Paris.
I know Paris and French culture well now but I still get into ridiculous mishaps, of the type Emily gets into. Not being able to find the light in the hallway of friend’s apartment resulted in me getting locked in the garage as I struggled to use the stairwells to leave the place. I’ll never, ever understand why you need keys sometimes to get out of an apartment. The washing machines are literally impossible to operate and I almost nearly broke one. And even though I can usually trick the French into thinking I speak their language, one word I’ll never get right is macaron. Not even my in-laws understand me when I try to say it!
Even though Untapped New York covers, as described by its name, New York City’s secrets and hidden places, we used to operate Untapped Paris and have a great archive of content. I was in France this summer thanks to being the spouse of a French citizen and it was glorious (you can read about that experience which I recounted for Gothamist). In tribute to Untapped Paris, here are the filming locations seen in Emily in Paris which you can use as a guide on your next visit (whenever France lets in us Americans again).
1. Emily’s Apartment
Photo: ROGER DO MINH/NETFLIX © 2020
Emily is put up in a furnished apartment by her company at 1, Place de l’Estrapade, located just next to the Panthéon in the 5th arrondisement. The Panthéon is a monument modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, where some of the most famous figures of French history are buried including Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Rousseau. Emily lives on the top floor in apartment 501, in rooms known as the chambres de bonne because they were once the servants quarters. Many chambres de bonne have since been converted into apartments or home offices. My husband says an apartment number for Emily in 501 is “pas possible” because the chambres de bonne must be on the 6th or 7th French floors (wait for the whole joke about pas possible in the show). The building at 1, Place de l’Estrapade has 7 floors so Emily’s apartment would be on the 7th floor.
As viewers, Gabriel also lives in 1, Place de l’Estrapade on the fourth floor. Emily repeatedly gets confused and tries to enter Gabriel’s apartment which would be the American fifth floor. Hence, the cultural difference that spurs a romance.