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Real-Life Emily in Paris: Things That Should Have Happened to Emily

Emily in Paris is pure fantasy. Upon that fact alone both critics and fans can agree. I touched on my thoughts on the realities of Emily in Paris in a previous article and briefly discussed on situations that Emily should have encountered. And so, in this article, I’ll be delving deeper into discussing things that should have happened to Emily in Emily in Paris (which would have happened to her if the show was real life!)

Emily in Paris update: On the 11th November 2020, it was announced that Emily in Paris has been renewed for a second season and we are happy to know that the hit show will be back on our screens soon!

As of the 3rd May 2021, the cast of Emily in Paris is filming for the forthcoming season. As of November 2021, it has been announced that Emily in Paris Season 2 will premiere on Wednesday, December 22. The new series will showcase places in Paris, as well as further afield, including the French Riviera in the South of France.

Real-Life Emily in Paris: Things That Should Have Happened to Emily

I’m an Anglophone who, like Emily, is in love with Paris. Just like Emily, I too, broke up with a boyfriend to pursue my dreams of living in France, and just like Emily, I get invited to events and make money from leveraging my social media accounts.

Much like Emily, I also live in my own apartment at the very top floor of a historic Paris building, and I too am trying (and, let’s face it, am failing) to date men in Paris! And… that’s where the similarities end! 

Living in Paris is nothing like what you see in TV shows. Life in Paris is exhilarating and exhausting, fun, and heartbreaking. In fact, life in Paris is much like living anywhere else, only your life is set against the backdrop of Paris.

Of course, the most realistic thing about the show is that you can visit almost all of the filming locations for yourself. If you’re interested, then here’s a guide in the best of Emily in Paris filming locations.

sophie nadeau paris
One of my favourite things about Paris is something that Emily never does in Emily in Paris- grabbing a few of your closest friends and enjoying a picnic along the Seine

#1 Emily takes the métro

If there’s one aspect of the show that really bothered me more than any other, it’s the fact that Emily literally never takes the métro. If you’ve been to Paris before then you’ll know that the public transportation system is an integral part of life and you need the métro to get pretty much anywhere in the city.

While it’s true that Paris is easy to walk around (and Emily does a lot of walking), there’s no way you could spend any length of time in Paris without making use of the fantastic public transport system on offer. Read more about getting around Paris with my purchasing transport tickets for Paris guide.

#2 Someone tries to pickpocket Emily

Paris is generally a pretty safe city but it’s true that (much like anywhere else), you have to keep your wits about you. Street harassment is honestly the worst aspect of living in Paris and I find that it’s much more prevalent in the French capital than anything I ever experienced when I was living in London.

Aside from street harassment, one of the biggest things that you have to watch out for are would-be pickpockets and thieves who grab your phone and run off just before the doors on the métro close (or similar situations, such as in crowds, where it will be hard to pursue the thief).

Typically, if someone is trying to pickpocket you, they’ll accidentally ‘bump into you’ or ‘brush up against you’ in a crowded spot such as queuing for a tourist attraction or on the métro. One time, I turned around to see a guy literally trying to reach into my friend’s bag.

We were walking through Le Marais and obviously thought we were drunk since we were laughing so much and it was gone midnight (we hadn’t drunk anything, we’re just loud!) I turned around, spotted him, swore at him and he immediately ran away. I recommend always carrying a cross-body bag with a zipper like this one to help you keep your valuables close to your person at all times.

Emily in Paris Filming Locations in Paris & Beyond

#3 Emily gets ghosted

As a fellow twenty-something in Paris trying to navigate the world of love in Paris, I can tell you that dating in Paris is literally nothing like how it is portrayed in the show! Instead, dating is pretty much the same as everywhere else, only you’re in Paris. I.e. dating sucks and you’re disappointed more often than you’re not.

You get ghosted a lot, not everyone you meet looks like a drop-dead-gorgeous movie-star, and you don’t have that instant chemistry that Emily seems to find with every eligible man she meets on the show. You make many great connections, but dating in Paris for real is messy and complicated and downright confusing. 

There are also a number of culture clashes to consider! Whereas in Anglophone countries it’s more common to have ‘the talk’ as to whether you’re officially dating and exclusive, this simply doesn’t really happen when you’re dating in France. Conversely, a man might tell you he’s exclusively dating you and then you catch him out with his ‘real girlfriend’ somewhere in the city (this has happened to me three times in the past year alone)

#4 Emily has a negative experience with her neighbour

In the show, the only neighbour we see any interaction with is the ever-so-cute chef, Gabriel. In real life, much like any other big city, you’re likely to never have very much interaction with your neighbours with the exception of a brief hello or wave when passing each other on the staircase.

If you see your neighbour on a more regular basis, it’s likely because of an issue! For example, fuites (leaks) are really common in Paris and you’ll often have to sort them out together with your affected neighbour, landlord, and the manager of the building (there was a leak when I first moved into my apartment and it took weeks to sort out, with me having to shower at my neighbour’s place for the duration). 

The walls in Parisian buildings are thin and, in the winter, this means that it can get pretty cold in your flat! This also means that noise complaints are pretty common fare, with neighbours often disputing with one another regarding the level of noise that can be heard after ‘acceptable hours’.

paris apartment view

#5 Emily tries to get a parcel delivered (and it doesn’t arrive)

Something that drives me absolutely crazy about living in France is that you can never get a package delivered without some sort of problem! When my sister sent me a letter earlier this year, we genuinely thought it had been lost due to the fact that it took almost two months to arrive (a standard letter size from Scotland to France)

I have had a number of occasions where I have given a company that’s meant to be delivering a package to me my door codes and exact address (as well as floor number), only to login in to the tracking system to find that there was an ‘attempted delivery’ and I ‘wasn’t at home,’ despite this obviously being simply untrue. When it comes to having packages delivered in France, it can simply be a nightmare- enough said!

#6 Emily has to find an apartment in Paris

One of the more difficult aspects of moving to Paris that the show completely glossed over is finding an apartment in the city. I’ve already discussed this on previous occasions, but competition for finding an apartment in Paris is fierce and, if you’re a foreigner, things become even more complicated!

Firstly, in order to secure an apartment, you typically have to have a bank account. In order to get a bank account, you have to have an address. Therein you can see where the first problem arises! Next, since there is so much competition, that landlords would rather take someone who is in a CDI (permanent contract) and so it’s incredibly difficult to find an apartment if you’re a freelancer or self-employed (like me!)

#7 Emily goes with her friends for a picnic along the Seine

Now that I’ve covered some of the more negative aspects of living in Paris (I still have to pinch myself every time I say ‘I live in Paris’ but it’s still not all sunshine and roses by any stretch of the imagination), it’s worth noting some of the more positive things that Emily would have done if she were really living her ‘best Parisian life’. 

One of these would have been to enjoy a delightful Paris picnic along the Seine with some of her closest friends. After all, one of my favourite pastimes in the French capital is to enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with my closest friends while watching the sun go down and the boats pass by.

picnic spots in paris

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Elaine Thatcher

Saturday 7th of November 2020

I really love your take on the show! I watched it as a long-term expat (not Paris, but many other places) and thought the same. I know it's not supposed to be an accurate portrayal of moving overseas, so it's okay, but imagine if they really did create a show about being an expat!

Imagine the episodes: crying at the Foreign Police after standing in line for hours to register your papers, shopping in 5 different stores just to find the ingredients to make a single meal, ending up with a terrible haircut because the stylist misunderstood what you said, trying to avoid the drunk creep on the late night metro... There are so many wonderful times as an expat, but it's not always gorgeous dresses and sexy foreign men.


Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I haven't seen the show, but i've heard that it is far from reality of living abroad (Paris or elsewhere), and I'm really glad that you've done this post on real life experience :) I'm a living abroad person as well, and have a feeling that this show would simply annoy me.

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