Sabrina is a Cinderella story—but there's no fairy godmother, because it's not a film with magic. So that leaves you with the question: how do you turn frumpy Sabrina into magical/mystical/Prince-is-wowed Sabrina? The film's answer is simple: Paris.
Long Island is nice enough, but it ain't transformative. Paris, though, is the land of love and fashion. It turns a frightened, loveless girl into the woman everyone is chasing after. Paris isn't so much a real place (you barely see it in the film) as a kind of ideal of sophistication and coolness. (Warning: everyone who goes to Paris doesn't come back looking like Audrey Hepburn.)
Questions About Contrasting Regions: New York and Paris
You never learn if David has been to Paris. If he had been, would that confuse the film's themes? Why or why not?
Hepburn was British. Would the film have been changed if Sabrina went to England instead of Paris? Why or why not?
Is the distinction in the film between New York and Paris, or between America and France? Does it matter?
Chew on This
Sabrina is transformed by Paris.
Sabrina is transformed by growing up, not by Paris.