“We’re an ordinary family dedicated to extraordinary places and people,” explains Valentin, the second-oldest son of the Kretz family, in the first episode of The Parisian Agency: Exclusive Properties. Netflix’s new real estate docu-drama, centered around Parisian luxury real estate company Kretz & Partners, lives up to this description. While you might expect it on first glance to be something akin to Netflix’s other real estate hit, Selling Sunset, the glitzy, catty LA types at the Oppenheimer group are a far cry from the Kretz family. This mom ‘n’ pop shop-turned power real estate company revolves around the exploits of the Kretz family: father Olivier, mother Sandrine, and sons Martin, Valentin, and Louis (plus Raphaël, the youngest, not yet part of the family business).
This “ordinary” French family came from relatively modest beginnings—the mother, Sandrine, was a schoolteacher, and had the idea to get into real estate when families of her students began asking if she could help them find new apartments to fit their expanding families. Over time, they became the go-to brokers for Paris’s elite, working mainly in the high end luxury market (which is designated as properties sold for over €5 million).
They mix work and personal lives like no normal family could manage without trying to throw each other off of a chateau tower. Commissions are evenly split among the members of this five-person operation, and they work out of the family living room, complete with its own swing… which seems to scream, Look how loving and whimsical we are! In the same phone call they might be discussing a client listing and asking who’s available to babysit that evening. In the first episode, the brothers are even shown taking a break from work to set their grandmother up on an online dating site, casually joking that they can take ten years off her listed age.
The show’s main detraction is an emphasis on family life at the expense of the series’ true selling point: the properties themselves. The first listing visited is a thousand-year-old, 800 square meter castle, with 14 bedrooms and a €15 million listing price. The castle and its proprietor are delightfully quirky, and it’s truly something to see how France’s wealthiest choose to decorate their historic homes (one of the highlights is a toilet that has been outfitted with an actual throne). But it takes thirteen minutes of family intro to get there. Forgivable for a first episode, but not when you realize that the second episode takes a whopping twenty-two minutes of screen time before any kind of property is shown, and spends twelve of those twenty-two on a dragged out family therapy session.
All real estate brokers know that you lead with a property’s greatest asset… so why wouldn’t Netflix do the same? Especially when these properties—French castles, seaside Spanish villas, historic Parisian mansions—are so truly spectacular. But luckily for all the Zillow-refreshers out there, fast forward is a marvelous invention to have at our disposal in times like these. Because you do want to watch Valentin bring a young CEO by boat to a €12.5 million ultra-modern Seine-side apartment with a retractable swimming pool. And then a €6.5 million hôtel particulier designed by the same architect who did the Hôtel du Louvre and the Hôtel Crillon. Not to mention the Ibiza episode, where some very particular clients fawn over the property’s grass but remain unimpressed by its cliffside infinity pool.
If Netflix decides to give the Kretz’s another five episodes, we hope they’ll get to more than three properties in 50 minutes. But until then, we’ve still gotten a peek at some of the best real estate porn France has to offer.