Francophiles who missed a trip to Paris in 2020 got a much-needed lifeline when the Netflix series Emily in Paris launched last October. Emily in Paris, a mega-success, with viewers around the world staying up into the wee hours of the morning on its first weekend, became an instant TV classic. Social media was buzzing with photos of the fabulous outfits Emily wore (Patricia Field, who designed the costumes for Sex and the City, also designed the costumes for Emily in Paris), and the show was shot in beautiful locations (Emily in Paris’ Instagram account has over a million followers). He has since been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.

The plot of the series follows Emily Cooper, played by the beautiful Lily Collins, a smart and ambitious Millennial. Emily is a young executive in a marketing firm in Chicago. At one point, she suddenly travels to Paris to accept a new position in her company. Having never been to Paris and not speaking a word of French, Emily has to make do without knowing anyone. The remaining nine episodes are funny ramblings about how Emily deals with French customs, social protocols, rules of conduct, rules for dating French men, office politics and complex cultural differences.

The city of Paris is one of Emily’s main attributes, and the second star of the show after Lily Collins. Since Woody Allen’s 2011 film Midnight in Paris, the city hasn’t been filmed so gloriously. Emily’s outdoor shots in Paris were shot entirely on location. While there are many well-known places in the show, there are also some obscure and unusual places that are not so well known.

We’ve compiled a list of the key locations in the series with historical context, fun facts and anecdotes.

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Place de l’Estrapade

In the first episode, when Emily arrives in Paris, she meets a handsome concierge who escorts her to her new apartment, a six-story apartment building. The apartment on the top floor is the so-called servants’ room, the small room where the servants slept when the buildings were still under construction. With a little artistic license, the show gave Emily a full kitchen, instead of the usual stove and mini-fridge in an authentic maid’s room, which is about 150 square feet.

Built in 1776, the Maison Moreau is located in Piazza Estrada, a picturesque garden square with fountains in the Latin Quarter of the Rive Gauche/Rev Gauche.

La Boulangerie Moderne

A few seconds after Emily entered her apartment, we see her enjoying her first chocolate treat at La Boulangerie Moderne, a real bakery a few doors down. One of the secrets to why pastries and bread are so good in France is that the law requires everything to be baked on site to be called a boulangerie. Bread, croissants, chocolates and other pastries are baked throughout the day and every few hours, so the food is always fresh. Boulangerie Moderne won the 2019 award for one of the 20 best king cakes in Paris, which is proudly displayed in the shop’s window.

Place de Valois and Palais Royal

Emily and Mindy at the Place de Valois // Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Emily’s office is nestled in the Place de Valois, not far from the Louvre, an underground courtyard lined with beautiful limestone buildings. It was built in 1790 and is named after the Duke of Valois, who lived in the Palais Royal, right opposite.

Several of Emily’s key scenes in Paris are shot at the Palais Royal, including her first meeting with Mindy after the children have been babysat and she accidentally knocks over Emily’s lunch stick, and the scene where Emily encourages Mindy to sing La Vie en Rose.

The original royal palace, called the Cardinal’s Palace, was built between 1633 and 1639 as the residence of Cardinal Richelieu, who died in 1642, just three years after its completion. The next occupant was King Louis XIII and subsequent generations of the French royal family, including King Louis XIV, Queen Anne of Austria and Philippe d’Orléans, who lived in the palace until 1793.

In 1784 the Palais Royal was transformed into the first commercial and entertainment complex in Paris, with 145 shop windows of clothing and design boutiques, restaurants and cafes, galleries and theatres. The Palais Royal has become a major tourist attraction for Parisians and Europeans alike. Plans for the beginning of the French Revolution are made in secret in a café at the Palais Royal, and on the 14th. July 1789: the revolutionaries symbolically storm the Bastille prison.

On the north side of the Palais Royal is the historic restaurant Le Grand Vefour, where Emily, wanting to impress her boss and an important client, thinks she has reserved a table at the last minute, only to find that she has accidentally changed the day and reserved a table a few months later. Opened in 1784, Le Grand Vefour is one of the most beautifully decorated restaurants in Paris and features neoclassical architectural details. Today the restaurant is owned by Guy Martin, who is also its head chef, and has been awarded two Michelin stars.

Place du Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot

Emily at her first post-work event, filmed at the Man Cafe // Photo courtesy of Netflix.

When Emily is invited to her first fancy event, she shows up in a sexy strapless black dress. At one point, we see his dreamy view of the Eiffel Tower, shimmering. The venue is the Café de l’Homme, located in the Museum of Man, the Museum of Evolution and Humanity.

The museum is part of the Palais Chaillot, a cultural complex built in 1937 overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

Roos van Huizen

The scene leading up to the beginning of Emily’s rowdy evening with her friend Mindy as they dine at La Maison Rose, a landmark in Montmartre. The charming Rose/Pink House opened in 1909 and featured in a painting by local artist Maurice Utrillo in 1916.

At the end of the street from Maison Rose, where Emily does her stunts on social media while lying in an outdoor bed, is the Rue de l’Abreuvoir, often considered one of the most beautiful streets in Paris.

Pontus Alexander III

When Emily arrives for a photo shoot for a new perfume, she gets a little disgusted when she sees a model walking across a bridge wearing only a pair of high heels.

The scene above is set on the Pont Alexandre III, one of the most beautiful of the 37 bridges over the Seine that divide Paris into two: the left bank and the right bank. It was built between 1896 and 1900 and named after Tsar Alexander III of Russia, who negotiated the Franco-Russian alliance in 1892. Crystal lamps, putti and golden nymphs illustrate popular art design at the turn of the century.

The four columns, two metres high, are crowned with gilded bronze statues and serve as landmarks for art, science, trade and industry.

The Alexander Bridge has been used as a backdrop for other films and television shows, including the Adele video, the 1998 film Ronin, the James Bond film A View to a Kill, the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, and The Sopranos.

The author Richard Naem is also a private guide in Paris. He was so inspired by Emily in Paris that he recorded a 24 minute video of all the places mentioned above and a few more. For more information, see www.ipreferparis.net.

He also designed Emily’s three-hour private tour of Paris, taking his clients to all of the above locations and also treating them to a pain au chocolat at the Boulangerie Moderne. For more information, see www.eyepreferparistours.com.

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