Why Is Mad Men Going to Paris?

And what L.A. street did the show dress up to look like a French boulevard?
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[UPDATE: An astute reader pointed out that maybe the Mad Men cast isn’t going to France but to Montreal, where Megan’s family lives and Sal’s wife’s family has an ad agency. Talk about a superfan! Sal’s wife, Kitty, was only in a couple of episodes. If Mad Men IS going to Canada, the Murray Hill riots, which took place in Montreal in October of 1969, would be well-timed for the final season. One thing we can all agree on: We want to see Sal again!]

We have un idée that for the second half of its final season, which airs in 2015, Mad Men is going to Paris. Why? Because a few months ago, a little birdie spied what appeared to be the cast and crew of the AMC show filming a scene in Los Feliz. The production was shooting on Vermont Avenue in front of Café Figaro, which already oozes Old World charm; it was even more Frenchified in the pictures we saw, which featured vintage Mad Men-era cars and tweed-clad sophisticates enjoying sips of espresso. (That, and the proprietress of a nearby business hinted Monsieur Sterling might put in an appearance.) We admit it, we could be totally wrong. But in case we’re not… here are a few ideas about why our favorite cigarette-smoking, martini-drinking, slim-tie wearing advertisers might cross the pond.

7. Sterling Cooper Gets a Foreign Account
The McCann merger could broaden horizons for the agency—and its employees. We won’t speculate on what product might draw them to France (an account for Gauloises, peut-être?) but as the engineer of the McCann deal, Roger would be the obvious choice to represent the Yanks abroad. Can’t you just see him, donning his chapeau and ascot to stroll down the Champs-Elysées? The real question: Now that the silver-haired playboy seems determined to take Bert Cooper’s place as the grand fromage, will he be able to keep away from the Moulin Rouge long enough to take care of business?

6. Don Needs to Get Away from Cutler, Or His Family, Or Himself
Though not mutually exclusive with the first suggestion, Don could use an overseas business sojourn as a way to regroup after the failure of his second marriage. In 1969 the Vietnam peace talks were taking place in Paris, but they stalled and didn’t make real progress for three more years. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner loves using geopolitical conflicts to illuminate interpersonal ones—in this case, maybe Don’s professional disagreement with Cutler. The two execs made up during the McCann merger, but don’t expect Cutler to let Don outmuscle him anytime soon.

5. Sal Romano Returns
The art director we haven’t seen since season three turns up in gay Paree, where he is divorced from Kitty, living a glamorous life working for a fashion house like Givenchy or Christian Dior or maybe for Concorde, which will make its first supersonic flight in 1970. Roger, his mind opened by LSD and now consumed with guilt over firing Sal (and no longer beholden to Lucky Strike), decides to reunite his old team.

4. Betty’s Husband Wants a New Job
After he tires of working as PR director for New York governor and presidential hopeful Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Francis sets his sights on an ambassadorship or some other diplomatic post. When Betty indulged her Roman holiday with Don, the results were over the top (and also failed to forestall their impeding split). Paris would allow her to put on even grander airs and place even more distance between herself and Sally. It could also signal doom for the Francises, whose marriage was showing strains during the last half-season.

3. Marigold Goes Abroad
Communal life in upstate New York (or wherever she’s now living) isn’t rustic enough for Margaret, Roger’s daughter. Inspired by the soixante huitards (the students and protestors who took over colleges throughout France in ’68), she heads to Vincennes and falls in with Michel Foucault and other intellectual firebrands. Roger, dutiful father that he is, heads overseas to retrieve her.

2. Sally Gets Schooled
Sally’s fancy boarding school takes a field trip to Paris, where she gets her hands on a copy of The Second Sex and finally begins to understands her mother, though this doesn’t make her hate Betty any less. Sally takes to wearing berets and black turtlenecks, smoking (whoops, she’s already got that down!), and hanging out in cafés.

1. Spinoff!
Inspired by Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad sequel, Matthew Weiner uses the series finale to launch a Frasier-esque show in which Don, twice divorced, moves to Paris to start (another) new life, this time as “Donahld Drapère.” Mad Men’s final image? A shot of Don’s arm draped over the back of a French bench, the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Bonne chance!

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