It was a group walking tour in a seaside town in Brittany, France. I had reviewed my French before taking this trip, although I felt that I had a good foundation for the language. After all, I started taking French classes at school when I was eight years old! During the tour we learned about the history of the city as we headed toward the local cathedral for more sightseeing. But as we walked, we passed a street that had something like five shoe stores with intriguing display windows. There were boots, walking shoes, and sandals, both traditional and trendy. So now I had a choice to make: should I visit the cathedral and continue with the walking tour, or stop into the shoe stores I had just passed? So let’s look at the choices again: sightseeing or shopping, sightseeing or new shoes… Was there really a doubt about this?
I carefully browsed each and every store, and I decided to try my French as I found shoes that I liked. It was actually not too difficult for me because I knew numbers and colors in French. When I was done with my explanation, one salesperson said “D’accord. Très bien!” To me this was a real triumph.
I decided that it was reasonable to combine shopping with sightseeing. I suppose shoes aren’t quite the same as postcards or refrigerator magnets (which I also buy), but for the purpose of being a souvenir, I know that I will remember where I bought those shoes when anyone asks about them.
I’m happy to report that once I had made my purchase(s), I did find my way to the cathedral and had a good visit there. So I would say that shopping for shoes while sightseeing is very satisfying. However, I will have to pack my new shoes very carefully, since I have no intention of actually wearing them until I get home.