I Was an IRL ‘Emily in Paris’ — And the Show Got Some Parts Right

Season 1 of Emily in Paris came out at a time I think I needed it most — the first COVID-19 lockdown, just after my wedding was postponed, my one-way airline tickets to Paris weren’t refunded, I was unemployed, and feeling a little sorry for myself. I felt a little comforted that I was still able to live out my dream of moving to Paris — sort of! 

While some people took the show WAY too seriously and exclaimed it was the worst thing to hit Netflix and Paris, I enjoyed it for what it was: an escape from reality in a beautiful city.

After season one, my hubby and I took the leap and moved to Paris in October 2020 and spent the next 12 months exploring her beautiful architecture, delectable desserts and many (MANY) quirks. Season two was enjoyed from the city of lights, and now I’m back home in Sydney.

I’m excited about the third season as I’m hoping I’ll be able to recognise more of the locations featured from my time living there throughout 2020 and 2021. The season three trailer has just dropped and thought I’d share what Emily in Paris ought to include to make it more realistic — and keep the haters away.

Yes, yes, I understand this show is as ‘real’ as it is ‘real’ for Carrie Bradshaw to live in the apartment she does, writing a column a week or that there’s an actual game that kills off its contestants playing red light, green light, however, I think no experience living in Paris is complete without featuring a few of these…

WRONG: Taking the Metro 

In Paris you’d be crazy to take a car anywhere to get around, you’re likely going to have the most luck ducking underground and jumping on the metro. I say likely as this needs to take into account strikes and random stops in the middle of two platforms for no explained reason. It also sometimes smells like urine (and by sometimes I mean 9 times out of 10), it’s cramped and whilst some of the musical buskers can be very talented, there are also the more confronting beggers who haven’t been fortunate enough to have access to regular bathing. Learning the geography of the city and watching the show, there’s no way Emily would be covering that distance in her fancy shoes and I think it’s time she went underground and learned the metro map.

RIGHT: Watch Where you Walk!

The streets of Paris are COVERED in dog poop and I don’t think I ever saw someone pick up after their dog. You really have to find the perfect balance of looking up and admiring the beautiful sights with checking the footpath to dodge Lou Lou the poodle’s droppings, otherwise, like Emily, you’ll find yourself squelching a fresh one underfoot — so gross.

WRONG: Getting a VISA in Paris

I’m sure Emily’soffice probably took care of this, but I think it’d be hilarious to see her visiting the Prefecture (a police building responsible for processing and approving VISAs) and trying to sort out her VISA.

This place is an absolute nightmare and probably, along with the French medicare office, the most frustrating place any foreigner can visit. Long lines, mountains of random paperwork and eye rolls from staff who seem to make up new rules each time you visit, it’s a joyful experience for anyone (how well does sarcasm translate online?) but living in France requires a lot of admin and I think the show glazes over this. Maybe it’s my PTSD from the many hours spent trying to secure the right VISA, but I think Emily should try and have a crack, especially given there’s zero chance she’ll get away with it in English.

WRONG: The Size of Apartments in Paris

Again, I know it’s just a show, but her apartment is next-level incredible and it’d be very rare for her to secure a place so BIG. Again, perhaps her office arranged this but I lived in 17 square metres and it cost 1,300 euros a month in the north of the 17th so she should be counting her blessings! Emily’s apartment, although cozy, would be considered a mansion compared to what some people live in.

WRONG: Her Choice of Footwear

I was relieved to see in the second season Emily finally found some flat shoes. If she’s not taking the metro or bus around, chances are she’s walking, and Parisian streets are not high-heel friendly. Cobblestones + heels = unhappy ankles!

RIGHT: Catching the Train

One huge aspect of living in Europe is the ease of travelling interstate (or inter-country in this instance) by train and Emily had this mode of transport nailed. Forget City Rail, the European train system is millennia ahead of what we have here and travelling by train is not only so much easier than heading to the airport, The French government has actually banned short-haul flights where you can jump on a train or bus on trips of two and a half hours.

WRONG: So. Many. Horns. And. Sirens.

While the show was set to a beautiful soundtrack, the IRL soundtrack of Paris isn’t so easy on the ears. Parisian drivers must be taught in driving school the importance of placing their hand on the car horn and not letting go for extended periods of time.

I’m not just talking about a little ‘beep’, I mean an uninterrupted four to five-second explosion of sound. That plus the relentless sirens zooming up and down the boulevards quickly becomes ambient noise to the city. I don’t know why I thought I’d be constantly serenaded by piano accordionists or cute French music at every street corner, but, in this instance, the show got the soundtrack to Paris oh so very wrong.

WRONG: Trying to Find a Bathroom

In Paris, finding a bathroom is always a challenge; and when you do find one, it won’t be free. Shopping centres often have turnstiles requiring a euro to enter and bathrooms in parks will usually have an attendant, aka Madam Pipi, who no matter how busting you are, won’t let you in unless you pay up. Sure, there are loads of those spaceship-looking toilets with automatic doors, but I liken using them to Russian roulette because you never know what state you’ll find them in — I’ll spare you the horror stories. I think it’d be hilarious to see Emily negotiating at a bistro or public bathroom to use their bathroom sans paying.

RIGHT: And Then There Are Those Who Don’t Bother Trying to Find One…

I don’t think I’d seen so many displays of public urination in 30 years of my life as I did when I lived in Paris for a year. Men all across the city feel totally comfortable whipping it out when nature calls. Parks, under bridges, in the street, you name it, you’ll probably see it and early on in season one — Emily learns this lesson the hard way.

With all that being said, I’m looking forward to binging the show when it’s released on December 21, 2022, and can’t wait to see what adventures Emily gets up to next in Paris.

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