Fashion designer Mich Dulce has lived out something that's perhaps a dream of yours—living in Paris, France! Preview.ph chats over the phone with her for an exclusive story on what waking up to the City of Light every morning is like. Croissants and cobblestones? It's so much more than that. Keep scrolling for candid stories and a tip (or 10) on which secret corners of the arrondissements to visit.
How did you end up living in Paris for a particular period of time?
"I got a job there! I was working with Maison Michele."
What was your first impression of the place?
"I'd been to Paris many times before, so it wasn't such a new experience for me, but the difference of actually moving there to work is that I had to work in French. I really had to learn the language. I don't really think I had a first impression because before moving there, I was already visiting twice a year for fashion week. I already had a bunch of friends and everything, but settling into the daily life, like, as a local, was the difficult part. Imagine getting all the logistics done in a language that's not your own! Like, getting a bank account, things like that."
Your favorite thing about Paris?
"I had great art everywhere. As a culture vulture, Paris was the best! For all my qualms about the place, it's still the most beautiful city in the world. I lived right across Colette, so to be able to step outside and have Tuileries as your backyard was amazing. I spent a lot of my days outside my flat sitting in the garden when it was sunny. I lived a stone's throw away from the Louvre! Just being able to see that kind of beauty every day was something that I really loved.
"My favorite thing was crossing the bridge from the right bank to the left, from Tuileries to Saint-Germain. Even if you've had a bad day, you cross and see Paris from that angle and it changes everything. It makes you grateful to be there.
"And it's the art, really. It was so accessible, it was everywhere. I was going to the opera every week, going to Centre Pompidou, going to every exhibition that would open. Paris is a city where everyone passes through, especially for fashion week. It's the hub for fashion—if you haven't seen a friend in a long time, you're bound to meet them again in Paris. They're always going to pass through, from wherever in the world."
What's the vibe of the city?
"I think it's a little bit lazy. Like, for example, nobody works in August. That was the shocking thing for me. I started working there in late June, and suddenly in August, everyone goes on vacation. Even if you want to go to work, you can't work. It's shut down. The Parisians take the weekend super seriously. It's not like New York, where you're go, go, go. In Paris, everything is closed at a set hour. Their weekends are slow. Sunday brunch is really a thing. It's so relaxed."
What's the street style like in Paris? How do people dress?
"Like I said, relaxed! It shows even in the way they dress. They're not as out there—they're very chic, but not fashion-freaky like Londoners. They're always a little undone."
How are the people like compared to Filipinos?
"To me, the number one distinction is that Filipinos are very warm right away. When you meet a Filipino, they'll welcome you with open arms, they're gonna wanna show you around. Parisians aren't like that at all. In Paris, it's harder to make friends, but once you're friends, you're friends for life. They have to let you in. They're kind of cliquish! It takes a while for the French to open up to you and make you feel welcome. The moment they do, though, it's genuine."
In your opinion, what's THE best place to eat in the city?
"My number one haunt is super casual! It's a place called Miznon in Le Marais. It's not even French food, it's gourmet falafel from Tel Aviv. They have THE BEST lamb shish. Oh my god, it's amazing. I'm craving for it right now. My favorite thing from there is the whole roasted cauliflower sprinkled with sea salt and served with tahini sauce. So, so good."
Any secret shopping haunts you want to share?
"Porte de Vanves for the flea market. It's off the tourist track, and there're really good finds. Go on Saturdays and Sundays, early in the morning. They have everything from vintage clothing to furniture."
Favorite purchase from Paris?
"I bought a 1960s cabinet for my flat! It's very mod, like two colors on the doors—one side is blue and the other is green. I brought it home to Manila with me!"
Any tips for people traveling to Paris?
"You need to walk. A lot. And ride a bike, too! I learned to cycle in Paris. Cross the bridge on foot and go to the left bank from the right. That's my favorite thing! Go to the Jardin de Luxembourg and read a book by the fountain. Also, those pickpocket stories on the Metro trains are true! I always got pickpocketed so be careful."
What are the less-popular-yet-just-as-cool sights to see?
"I'd say the Pompidou for art, but that's still on the normal path! Hmmm, what else...In the summers, go to the Jardin d'Acclimatation! It's in Boulogne. It's a park for kids, and there's a zipline, a little train, cute things like that. Adjacent to it is the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which you should see, too.
"Tourists always go to have tea in Laduree, but the locals will tell you that it's not the place for tea! Locals eat there for lunch. Get the lunch menu.
"All in all, I have to say that if you want to see beyond the cliched tourist-trap surface, you really need to have a local help you find what you want!"