Ladies, we all know that French women are born with an innate ability to negotiate uneven cobblestone streets in spiky heels. And while it’s always nice to blend, a bit, wherever you go, there’s no need to break a leg about it.
So, what shoes should you bring with you if you’re traveling to you-know-where?
Here’s my strategy:
First, I always bring at least one pair of shoes that are somewhat stylish and pretty, but that you can actually walk in, too. These are Danskos that I bought a few years ago; they’re comfortable and walk-able and somewhat chic:
A great brand for these kind of comfy but stylish shoes, by the way, is Naot. I still dream about a pair that I wore for about 10 years before I finally gave them up….
In the past year, I have seen a lot of “ballerines” around France. Admittedly I am not seeing them as much in resort towns, like Collioure, because people are wearing sandles down here. However, if you will be visiting cities, they’re nice to have. Not a lot of arch support, but they do blend well, and aren’t out-and-out killers.
But the the shoes I could not live without down here are my Keens. No, they’re not chic, but they are brilliant for hikes and long walks and the rocky coastline of the beach. And they don’t stick out in an ugly American way. There are plenty of Europeans who are wearing these or other sensible walking shoes for hiking and the beaches (though admittedly, most comfy-shoes wearers are from the Northern areas, like the Dutch, Scandinavians, British, etc.). In fact, I ran into an Irish woman and after talking a while, she gestured to my shoes and hers–we were both wearing Keens. “Don’t you love those?” she said.
Why yes, I do. Not only are they amazingly comfortable, but they are waterproof, so fabulous for walking along the beach. They are also machine washable, so I’m going to give them a spin before I head back to Nice.
Once you get here, however, you might be tempted by some other shoes. Here is what I am seeing in shops.
I would have taken more photos, but the shop-owner got crabby with me. We had a little chat, and she softened a bit and said, “Next time, just ask.” Yes, after 25 trips to France, I still make a faux pas now and then….