Living in the City of Light: These Filipinos Successfully Pursued their Passions in Paris, and now Call the French Capital Home - LA Lives

“I love raising my children here, around the beautiful edifices, the rich arts and culture, and the many conveniences of living in a half modern, half traditional city.”

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Charina Sarte

“It’s a simple life, but I have to say I cannot be happier,” is how Sarte describes her life in Paris. The founder and designer of her namesake resort wear brand moved to the French capital in 2017 to start her family with her Parisian husband, Valentin.

“I feel like living in France has taught me the joy of living simply,” the fashion designer shares. “I’m happy to have days of just being able to go to a park and sit and watch people with my son, to walk my dogs every day, to sit in a cafe with my friends and have apero, to go to the countryside with my family on weekends.”

Although moving to a fashion capital helped her brand expand and inspired more creativity for her collections, Sarte considers the language barrier a challenge. However, a similarity she enjoys between French and Filipino culture is their passion for living life. “We love socializing, whether it’s getting together for a meal or apero or taking that time to holiday [now and then],” she says.

Patrick Cuna

After a four-year stint at Louis Vuitton, Philippines, Cuna moved to Paris at the beginning of 2018 to take a master’s degree in the luxury industry. Currently, he works at the headquarters of LVMH as their global business developer, a strategy manager post for its retail development. On his favorite aspects of living in the City of Light, Cuna shares that it’s from a balance of work, leisure, arts, gastronomy, and his circle of Filipino friends.

Patrick Cuna

Something new he’s immersed himself while in Europe is oil painting. “I have been creating abstract pieces by telling a story of striking moments of my life in Paris,” Cuna shares. “Currently, I am building my first collection, which will officially be launched on my exhibit in March 2022!”

Michealle Torres

As someone who works in the fashion industry, Torres describes living in one of the style capitals of the world as a “dream.” The global head of content for Maison Roger Vivier moved to Paris in 2013 and now raises her children in a city that’s “so rich in culture.”

Michealle Torres

On the main challenge of moving to Paris presented, she says the language barrier is difficult. “I think everyone will say this! In France, you have to make an effort to learn their language if you plan on working here and for everyday life. A small bonjour or merci goes a long way,” she shares.

Despite this, she credits Paris for having an environment to enrich one’s interests easily. From art museums to parks, Torres says that experiencing the French capital as a resident is special as it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

Bianca Monzon-Cueva

Monzon-Cueva began her life abroad in 2000 when she moved to the US to work for Gap Inc. and Ralph Lauren in San Francisco and New York, respectively. After eight years, she moved to Paris to complete an MBA in Luxury Brand Management at ESSEC Business School. Currently, she holds the executive director post of the LVMH Chair at the same school, which globally cultivates young talents to begin careers in the luxury industry. 

“France is the birthplace of luxury, and Paris is where the best luxury Maisons hold court—so this is where I was determined to learn the luxury industry by way of the MBA in Luxury Brand Management,” she shares. “I am also a lover of food, arts, and culture, and which better place to live an epicurean life [than] in Paris?” After living in New York, Monzon-Cueva considers Paris a more slow-paced city and says it “made sense” to settle down and raise a family there. 

Bianca Monzon-Cueva with her husband Paul Cueva-Gamard and two daughters, Albane and Garance

 “I love raising my children here, around the beautiful edifices, the rich arts and culture, and the many conveniences of living in a half modern, half traditional city,” she says.

Although the executive director loved her childhood in the Philippines, she enjoys watching her daughters, Albane and Granace, growing up in a contrasting environment. “For example, their school field trips in public school were to the Musée d’Orsay and the medieval village of Provins (an excellent day trip option outside of Paris). They are living such charmed childhoods, and they just don’t know it,” she muses.

Kares Hammond

Hammond considered the move to France a “tough decision.” As one of the people managing financial research company Standard & Poor’s Asian region for seven years, Hammond helped set up its Philippine office. She held posts for the company in both Singapore and the Philippines.

“Coincidentally enough and by God’s grace, my husband was also asked by his then company which is headquartered in France, also to set up a studio in the Philippines,” she shares. “So relocating for work is something that we have become very familiar with.”

Kares Hammond

Nowadays, Hammond and her family shuttle between France and the UK to be closer to her British husband’s family and pursue their respective careers. “It’s easy to fall in love with Paris, even then, every time we would come just for a visit, and now having it as a base to call home, has made for a perfect quintessential love affair for our entire family,” Hammond fondly shares.

Ian Goldwyn

The lifestyle concierge specialist has lived in Europe for 20 years, initially living in Belgium and then in Paris in 2017. Goldwyn says it was his childhood dream and fascination with supermodels that motivated him to move to Paris.

“All of them, right here in Paris. I’m living that dream. Since the early ’90s, the era of the supermodels. A documentary came out in 1993 called Catwalk with Christy Turlington,” he shares. “It showed her journey during Fashion Week in Paris, Milan, and New York, and I just fell in love with all of it.”

Ian Goldwyn

France caters to Goldwyn’s ideal lifestyle due to its culture of art and culture. “You live and breathe it, and you take it all in. I still pinch myself, and I’m still in awe of being able to wake up and pass the Eiffel Tower every single day,” he says fondly.

This story originally came out in the December 2021-January 2022 issue of Lifestyle Asia.

Banner Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash

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