"Paris at Last"
Season 5, Episode 18
#145 in Series
Network: CBS-TV
Air date: February 27, 1956
Written by: Bob Carroll Jr.
Madelyn Pugh
Bob Schiller
Bob Weiskopf
Directed by: James V. Kern
Production code: 5-18 / 145
Episode guide
IMDB Paris at Last
Episode chronology
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"Lucy Goes to Scotland" "Lucy Meets Charles Boyer"

Paris at Last was the 145th overall episode of I Love Lucy, also the 18th episode of season 5 of the series. The episode, was directed by James V. Kern, originally aired on CBS-TV on February 27, 1956.


The Ricardos and the Mertzes arrive in Paris only to find themselves locked up in jail for passing counterfeit francs.

Plot summaryEdit

While on her own in Paris, Lucy gets tricked into exchanging her American money for counterfeit francs, being sucked in by the con artist's guarantee to give her more francs for her money than the American Express office. She spends the day buying a painting from an undiscovered sidewalk artist and eating a meal of escargot and wine at a typical Parisian sidewalk cafe. When Lucy goes to pay her lunch meal at the cafe, she is arrested for using counterfeit money. At the prison, Lucy is freaking out. She doesn't want to go to jail, and nobody knows English for her to explain what really happened. Ricky comes to save her, and Ricky turns out to be the missing link in a very clever way to have Lucy set free. One police officer only speaks French, the other police officer speaks French and German, a drunken inmate speaks German and Spanish, and Ricky speaks Spanish and English! Using this five-way chain of people and languages, Lucy gets to plead her case. She is set free when she agrees to pay the cafe bill with real money. But just as the Ricardos are leaving the prison, they find that the Mertzes have also been arrested for using counterfeit money, having borrowed the fake money from Lucy, and the initial chaos once again resumes.

Back at the hotel, everybody's record is now clean. They all want to show each other what they bought earlier that day. What ends up happening is that, unknowingly, Lucy, Ricky, and the Mertzes all bought the exact same painting from the sidewalk artist! Little did they know that the artist had unlimited quanities of pre-made paintings, and he only was pretending to work on them by dabbing a paintbrush over a canvas he purposely made wet.


  • The five-way translation scene is simply brilliant:

From French...

To German...

To Spanish...

To English...

And back again, the scene is a wonderful example of how language can act as both a barrier and a uniting force between people.

  • Lucy fans will recognize the sidewalk artist as being the same actor who played Jean Val-Jean Ramon in "The Adagio" and the waiter at the cafe as being the same actor who played maitre'd Maurice in "Ricky Asks for a Raise."
  • Pierre Charpentier, the sidewalk artist, accepted a price of 1000 francs for his painting from Lucy, and he acts like this is a lot of money. But we learn in this episode that 7000 frances equals $20. Also, Ethel buys the leopard-print purse in Paris for 1000 francs, and she tells panicking Fred that 1000 francs is only about $2 American.
  • The man in the beret who toasts his glass of wine to Lucy at the cafe is writer Bob Carroll, Jr. His writer partner, Madelyn Pugh, was sitting beside him at the table, but all that is shown of her on camera is her arm.
  • Lucy and Ethel were very naive to believe that the counterfeiter could give them more money per exchange than the American Express office. It's logical that Fred wouldn't have questioned the money's legality, simply because he was getting more money for free. But Lucy usually is suspicious of people, so why didn't she ask more questions?
  • The Desilu prop man made quite a hilarious error for the scene where Lucy's at the cafe. The bottle of wine on the table is Paul Masson, a brand made in California, not France!
  • Had the drunk not been inebriated when arrested, Lucy may have ended up in prison. Chances are the drunk wouldn't have started babbling in German had he been sober.
  • The cop who speaks both French and German says he's from Strasbourg. The actor who played the cop was originally from Vienna in real life.
  • "La specialite de la maison" for the French cafe is "des escargots de Bourgogne."
  • The original script had an additional part at the ending, after everyone exchanges the identical paintings. The police knock on the Ricardos' hotel door and say that Ricky paid with counterfeit money at the police station. Ricky got change from Charpentier when he bought his copy of the painting, and Charpentier used the counterfeit money Lucy bought the painting with to give Ricky his change.
  • Apparently, putting ketchup on escargot and using the snail-opening tool to pinch one's nose shut are both just as horrible of crimes in France as using counterfeit money.
  • Lucy calls Ricky a "Spanish Chevalier" in this episode, and she's not wrong. Ricky not only adopted wearing a signature straw hat like Chevalier, he also wears the hat at an angle like Chevalier.
  • It's interesting that Ricky/Desi says, "Yo soy innocente," when translating "I am innocent" for Lucy. "Soy," coming from the verb form "ser," is used for long-standing character traits. "Estoy," coming from the verb form "estar," is used for conditions. Ricky is essentially saying that Lucy is ALWAYS innocent, even though we as viewers know that her innocence about schemes is really a conditional thing!


Guest starringEdit

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