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American Expatriates in Paris Wish Emily Cooper Would Go Home

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“My early inspiration for moving to France was the 1954 Billy Wilder film ‘Sabrina,’ starring Audrey Hepburn as a clumsy American 20-something who transforms into a chic creature and queen of her own destiny, thanks partially to her French mentors,” she said. “Sabrina, Emily Cooper just isn’t!”

Pritchard said her weekly pilgrimage to Café de Flore, where Simone de Beauvoir and Picasso once puffed and preached, had been ruined by the handfuls of raucous “Emily in Paris” pilgrims who now swarmed the cafe, taking Instagram-ready selfies on certainly one of the several 2-hour tours of Emily’s favorite Paris haunts, including her Fifth Arrondissement apartment. Some wear fire engine red berets, similar to Emily.

Such is the ubiquity of the series in the worldwide cultural firmament that Paris hotels, restaurants and bars say the tourism industry is benefiting, and cite “The Emily effect”: Emily-obsessed American tourists arriving in droves. In late December, McDonald’s in Paris introduced an “Emily in Paris” menu featuring the McBaguette, complemented by a duo of chocolate and raspberry macarons. (In Season 3, Gabriel, a French chef aspiring for a Michelin star, improbably, calls McDonald’s a “little treat.”)

Pamela Druckerman, 52, a Paris-based American author from Miami, who has written books on French motherhood and French sexual mores, lamented that the show treated Paris as a “two-dimensional cartoon” during which Emily can journey from Montmartre to the Left Bank in what looks as if a nanosecond, “without ever taking the metro or encountering homeless people.” Emily — brash, naïve, and clad in metallic blue knee-high boots — held up an uncomfortable mirror of all the things she had striven to not be.

“We try so hard to not be the ugly American, and here is Emily along with her terrible accent and garish clothing, shouting at French people in English and expecting them to know,” she said. “Being an American expat in Paris is all about trying to look vaguely French or invisibly American, and Emily is the alternative of that.”

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