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Marin Hinkle does not speak French. So she was more than surprised to learn what Rose Weissman, the character she plays on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, would get up to in the shows second season premiere. When she learned that Rose—a traditional woman of the 50s—would abandon her husband, move to Paris, and embrace her old, more bohemian lifestyle, Hinkle said, she was stunned: “My jaw dropped.”

In Season 2, which premiered earlier this week, rising stand-up star Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) continues her climb to fame—unbeknownst to her conservative parents, Rose and Abe (Tony Shalhoub) Weissman. The revelation of her daughters calling would shake Rose in particular, who had a rough go in Maisel Season 1—after finding out that her daughter had no intention of reconciling with her estranged husband, and that both Abe and Midge had kept this detail from her.

This season, Rose decides to leave those worries, scars, and inconsiderate family members behind—by moving to Paris, where she briefly lived in her youth. There, she eats rich food, smokes heavy cigarettes, and adopts an adorable little pup named Simone—none of which would have been Rose-approved activities when we first met the character. In a way, the little jaunt is Rose having her own “Midge” moment, embracing independence and strengthening her sense of self at a time when such activities were not really expected of women.

Hinkle knew none of this, however, when a producer called her to ask if she knew French. Shed taken the language in high school, and could produce a sufficiently convincing accent—but otherwise, the answer was no. So Hinkle got set up with a one-on-one tutor, though her instruction faced an immediate snag: “I had no script,” Hinkle said. “Basically, I was told that I should learn French. What I did was, I learned how to conjugate verbs.” After a while, the actress asked Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino—who likes to keep plot points close to the vest—to provide at least a little information about what shed be doing with her newfound skills. Thats when she found out she was going to Paris.

“I was totally moved and excited,” Hinkle said. “They flew me for a fitting, which is kind of extraordinary. I fly into Paris, and I have a fitting for scenes for things I have no idea what Im shooting. It turns out the costume designer also did not know what she was going to do the fitting for. . . . It wasnt until a couple days before we were going to actually start shooting in Paris that we got the script.”

As one might expect, Hinkle was equally surprised when she learned what her character would be doing in gay Paris. “I could not believe my character was going to be eating, and drinking, and smoking cigarettes, and live in this little artistic kind of hovel, and then having this one little bathroom that she shares with all these men and women . . . and that shes running around town and taking art classes!” Hinkle said.

As she explored the city, Hinkle embraced her own sense of newness—a spirit she believes helped evoke her characters sense of wonder. That joyous vibe also permeated her relationship with Shalhoub: in addition to discovering new sides of their characters, they got to discover a new city together. The two took dance lessons to learn how to waltz, and explored with the cast and Shahoubs wife.

Abe and Rose do re-discover their romance in Paris, in swoon-worthy scenes like a midnight dance on the banks of the Seine as Notre Dame twinkles in the background. The cast and crew likewise had a grand time on location; Alex Borstein, whose character does not appear in the Paris scenes, even joined everyone for a group field trip to Disneyland Paris. (It helps that Borstein lives in Barcelona, just a hop, skip, and a jump from France.)

When the cast learned that the apartment Rose wanted to move into was on the market, they even indulged in a similar fantasy. “We all tried to figure out if we all put in a certain amount of money, could we buy property together? And then we could do a timeshare,” Hinkle said. “All of us, as a company, were like a little traveling theater group overseas. Really finding out what it was like, both there and later in the Catskills, to live and work together, and deepen our ties to one another.”

Paris also introduced a delightful new character to the world of Maisel: a dachshund named Simone, whom Rose adopts and feeds steak tartare as she coos in French. The dog we see was actually the crews second choice, Hinkle confessed; the first, she said, “wasnt doing what it needed to do.”

“I thought it was doing just fine,” she explained, “but Amy felt that that other dog was barking a little too much and wasnt listening to commands. There was this really funny moment where someone said, Where in Paris can we get more dogs? Someone else said, Well, I think that we can call the Game of Thrones people, because apparently, they use a lot of dogs. Someone else said, Wait a minute. The Game of Thrones dogs are probably a lot bigger.”

As it turns out, the animal side of the entertainment industry is more robust in the United States than in other countries; in Paris, there wasnt a great selection of trained canines. Dog No. 2 was a professional through and through. For one scene, Hinkle recalled, “She had to walk along a little street in the middle of the night, and she had had a lot of steak tartare that day. We were really feeding her. The poor thing was probably going to throw up at that point, but she did really well. . . . I think all of us wanted to take her home. We fell in love with her.” Both the cast and Rose had to leave the dog behind when the episode wrapped. But, hey, theyll always have Paris.

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Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.