In my inner movie, my memories of France will be forever punctuated by a very special sound. The roar of motorbikes as they sped between lanes of traffic? The tinkle of glasses and silverware floating out of upper-floor open windows in the sultry July summer? The sound of street and subway musicians pouring their souls out on their instruments? Yes, to all of those. But the sound I will most remember is the flap, flap, flap of my trusty flip-flops as I trudged up and down the Metro staircases and sauntered along hallways in museums. You could almost call it a comfort sound, like the lullaby your mother sings or the feeling you get when hearing a favorite hymn.
And comfortable it was. At the last minute before we left on the trip, I decided to purchase a pair of bejeweled thick-soled flip-flops to use as an antidote to the sturdy shoes I planned to wear during days of sightseeing. As it turned out, that last-minute decision was a life saver.
I wore the flip-flops at Versailles after we got drenched in the rain outside the Petit Trianon.
I wore the flip-flops in the evenings on the cruise ship after my feet and ankles swelled from all the salt in those delectable sauces.
I even wore them the last day in Paris, when that tender place between my toes was broken in and the soft foam sole was all that I could handle after twelve days of sightseeing.
I didn’t take any photos of people’s feet in Paris, but if I had, you would see thousands of flip-flops. All sizes, shapes, and styles, and they weren’t all on tacky American feet. The French wear flip-flops, too, but they are likely to be trendy Havaianas.
NRB gave me “that look” when I suggested we bring home Paris flip-flops as souvenirs, but really, isn’t a good flip-flop the ultimate in thoughtful gift-giving?