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Everything That's Wrong With "Emily In Paris" According To An Actual French Person

First off, we're not *that* mean!

Hi! I'm Marie, I'm French, I live in Paris, and I'm here to talk to you about Emily in Paris.

The author sitting al fresco at a restaurant in Paris.
Marie Telling

By now the whole world has seemingly watched Netflix's new show about an American girl's adventures in France.

Emily eating a croissant on "Emily In Paris"
Netflix

If you haven't, it's the story of Emily, a twentysomething from Chicago who loves jogging, bright colors, and her Cubs-obsessed, bro-ey boyfriend. One day her job sends her to Paris, where she discovers la joie de vivre.

So I thought I'd set a few things straight and share everything that is wrong with Emily in Paris. (Which, for the record, I actually enjoyed in all its ridiculousness!!)

A screenshot of Emily's notes on her laptop.
Netflix

Even if the show is so unrealistic that it makes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's classic 1999 masterpiece, Passport to Paris, look like a gritty documentary.

1. First off, what is this nonsense about Emmanuel Macron being "hot"??

A scene from "Emily in Paris" that says "Look at their president [Emmanuel Macron]. He's young. He's hot."
Netflix

I'm not here to yuck anybody's yum, but I encourage anyone who believes Macron to be hot to watch this speech and report back. But let's move on.

2. Early on, we're told that Emily's new apartment is a chambre de bonne.

Emily arriving at her Parisian apartment.
Netflix

That's what we call the old, tiny maid's quarters in Parisian buildings that were later turned into tiny studios (usually for students).

But this is NOT a chambre de bonne:

Netflix

This is a big, beautiful apartment by Parisian standards. It's got several windows (!!!) and a fully equipped kitchen (!!!!!!).

THIS is a chambre de bonne:

A shot of a real-life chambre de bonne — where the shower stall is right next to the kitchen sink.
pap.fr

Note how the shower is located right next to the kitchen space, which only includes two burner plates, a mini fridge, and a sink (where you probably also have to brush your teeth). I'm assuming the bathroom is in the hallway and you have to share it with several other renters — which is fairly common for chambres de bonne.

3. Sure, Paris is filled with love and beauty. It's also often gross and exhausting.

Netflix

Maybe it's because I just spent 40 minutes in a packed metro, sweating under my mask, to come home to a tiny apartment where I can hear my neighbor screaming at her toddler through the paper-thin walls, but I'm not feeling the love, romance, light, and beauty right now.

4. No vibrator, no matter how powerful, would blow out the fuse of an entire Parisian neighborhood.

Netflix

Our power system is equipped to handle all sorts of equipment.

5. This might come as a shock, but we actually work and are expected to come to the office on time.

Netflix

No company I know of starts work at 10:30 a.m. Most French workdays start at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and end around 7 p.m. (We do have real lunch breaks, though, and more paid time off than in the US.)

6. While we're talking infrastructure: No, our plumbing isn't "500 years old. Literally."

A scene from Emily in Paris that says "The plumbing in 500 years old. Literally."
Netflix

Most buildings in Paris aren't even 200 years old, and believe it or not, we've updated a few things throughout the years. We even have drinking water coming out of those pipes!

7. I doubt that Carla Bruni and Brigitte Macron send each other dumb memes about aging vaginas.

Netflix

But I gotta admire this show's chutzpah.

8. I may be biased here, but hear me out: We're not mean!

Emily telling her friend that the people in Paris are "so mean."
Netflix

If Emily wants people to be kind to her, maybe she should learn a little about local customs and basic manners. If you come into a store, don't bother to say "Bonjour," and start talking in English right away, people might not take it super well. It wouldn't cross my mind, for instance, to go into an office or a bakery in the US, start speaking French, and lecture people on how we do it back home, expecting them to engage.

9. And an entire office wouldn't start calling you la plouc because you rub them the wrong way.

Emily being greeted at her new job with "Bonjour, la plouc!"
Netflix

At least, not to your face. That's just cruel.

10. Contrary to what the show would have you believe, older Frenchwomen don't go around screaming at and scheming against young American women.

An old French woman looking out her window and saying "I don't understand. And I've got no mail for you."
Netflix

I don't know why they decided to make a hag out of every mature Frenchwoman on the show, but it really got on my nerves. I shouldn't even have to write this, but Frenchwomen, no matter their age, aren't all mean, jealous, and anti-feminist.

11. Not all Frenchmen look like they've just spent a month sunbathing on a yacht, and they're not all massive creeps.

Netflix

I can't believe this show is making me do a #NotAllMen take, but its obsession with the creepy-French-lover cliché got pretty weird and uncomfortable.

12. I'm sorry, but European cities weren't built with American tourists in mind.

Netflix

They aren't laid out as a grid — they're the result of thousands of years of history. Maybe Emily shouldn't go around the world expecting things to be organized for her convenience and according to her rules? (Sorry, I'm getting kind of salty here, and you're probably thinking that French people really are as mean in reality as they are in the show. And maybe we actually are. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

13. You don't have to wear a beret when you're in France.

Emily wearing a red beret.
Netflix

I just want to make this clear, because I've seen many Americans on Instagram wearing one during their Euro trip: This is not how you fit in or look like a local. Quite the opposite, actually.

14. Not everyone hates Normandy.

Netflix

I know Emily's knowledge of Normandy is limited to Saving Private Ryan, but it's only a couple of hours away from Paris (and it's really lovely). Why are they all pretending like they're never going to see Gabriel ever again once he moves there?

15. This isn't France-related, but in what world would anyone gain thousands of Instagram followers over a few weeks simply by posting basic-ass selfies?

Emily posting another selfie to Instagram.
Netflix

Just saying.

16. And in what reality would this ridiculously cheap-looking commercial be deemed good enough to promote a high-end perfume?

Netflix

Naked model or not.

17. Le Café de Flore hasn't been cool in over 40 years.

Emily being told "You're sitting at the coolest cafe in all of Paris."
Netflix

It's just an overpriced tourist trap.

18. You don't need to go to Ralph Lauren's restaurant to get a good cheeseburger in Paris.

A cheeseburger being served at Ralph Lauren's restaurant on "Emily in Paris".
Netflix

We're surrounded by burger spots. You could eat a burger every day for a year in Paris and never have to get it twice from the same place.

19. And never in my 32 years of being French have I heard about this rule.

Emily being told "Women are not supposed to touch the bottle at the dinner table."
Netflix

I imagine I'm not sophisticated enough.

20. I'm guessing this has to do with our reputation for not showering, but...eww!!

Netflix

If a Frenchman ever tells you this, it is not normal or sweet or sexy — it's just gross and you should run away. (And we do shower!)

21. The sex clichés are ridiculous.

Emily being told "Frenchmen never get tired of having sex."
Netflix

The show is a catalog of clichés about French people's relationship with sex. Apparently our men never get tired of having sex and everyone has a (married) lover — and the wife knows and approves??

22. Same with the depictions of French parenting.

Netflix

You know, just your average French mom worrying about her 17-year-old son's skills in bed!

23. This must be the single worst (and most historically inaccurate) pickup line I've ever heard.

Netflix

Wut?? Yeah, the French hid when bombs were falling during World War II. AS ANYONE SHOULD when bombs are falling on them.

24. And finally, I just want to say that the real villain of this story isn't Emily's boss or her mean super, but Emily herself.

Emily telling her new French friend, "You're nice and French and you speak English?"
Netflix

Giving out backhanded compliments to perfectly nice people and [SPOILER ALERT] sleeping with both the brother AND the boyfriend of the one French girl who's super friendly to her!