Films such as Last Tango in Paris, Amélie, Funny Face, Moulin Rouge!, and Paris je t’aime prove the world’s most romantic city is the ultimate celluloid backdrop for romance, fantasy, sophistication, and escape. These flicks feature a treasure trove of memorable images and landmarks, showcasing the inimitable City of Light at its finest. And as international traveling remains a distant memory for most Americans right now, a virtual visit via your remote is an instant cure for a case of wanderlust.
Consider adding the new Netflix series Emily in Paris to that list. The brainchild of Sex and the City creator/executive producer/writer Darren Star, the show is a love letter to all things Parisienne, and the French capital is the real star (although, it should be noted, clichés abound, and a few French publications have panned the show).
The rom-com tells the tale of Emily (Lily Collins), an ambitious 20-something marketing executive from Chicago who is transferred to Paris to revamp social media for a French luxury marketing boutique. From the moment she takes a taxi from Charles de Gaulle to her new chambre de bonne—that would be the fifth-floor maid’s room with the requisite breathtaking view—the travelogue begins.
Filming entirely on location in Paris before the days of COVID-19, Oscar-nominated Parisian production designer Anne Seibel (Midnight in Paris) and set decorator Christelle Maisonneuve dressed the various interior and exterior sets, which included contemporary offices, cafés and bistros, a country château, and a famous opera house, to name a few. The series is part Devil Wears Prada (think couture and a boss from hell) with a touch of Sex and the City; Emily sports some memorable fashion moments courtesy of costume designer Patricia Field.
Here are a few notable locations to look out for. Bon film à toi!
This landmark needs no introduction, as nothing is more synonymous with the city than the iconic Eiffel Tower. The designers filmed at the legendary Café de l’Homme Trocadéro, chosen for its no-less-than-stunning location and views. Interior designers Gilles & Boissier created the elegant Art Deco–style interiors at the popular spot for locals and tourists.
Our heroine attends an influencer event at Paris Fashion Week overlooking the Place Vendôme. The bronze column topped with a statue of Napoleon seen in the background is the historic landmark Colonne Vendôme.
Château de Sonnay
Emily and friends take a weekend excursion to the French countryside, staying in a classically designed country manor and vineyard. “We filmed at the Château de Sonnay in Cravant-les-Côteaux near Chinon. It belongs to a friend of mine, Frédéric de Foucaud, and the producers fell in love with it,” says Seibel, who completely redressed the interiors and planted a garden.
In this scene, filmed on the picturesque Place Dalida at the intersection of rue Girardon and rue de l’Abreuvoir in Montmartre, Emily sets up a photo shoot for her client, the Swedish luxury mattress company Hästens. Located on a hill in the city’s 18th arrondissement, the colorful neighborhood is known for its winding hillside cobblestone streets, artist community, bistros, and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur.
Bustling and lively in the day, moonlit and romantic at night, the Seine is known as the most romantic river in the world. The Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge, was filmed between the Louvre and the Institut de France, and Seibel had to remove the love padlocks left by locals and tourists (the city removed over a million in 2015 alone).
The gilt- and marble-laden ceremonial grand stairs at the Palais Garnier make an appearance in the show. The famed opera house, built in 1874, is one of Paris’s most popular attractions and heralded as one of the most famous in the world. Boasting a ceiling mural of Isidore Pils’s depiction of Triumph of the Apollo, the double staircase is lined with female torchères.
Terra Vera Restaurant
The show’s designers converted the Italian restaurant Terra Vera, located on Place de L’Estrapade in the 6th arrondissement, into the restaurant of Gabriel, Emily’s love interest. Seibel and Maisonneuve also redesigned the neighboring shops in the square, transforming an ordinary photocopy shop into a beautiful flower stand.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest