Sunday, November 21, 2010


When I coyly checked in at the ticket counter in the early 1980's with only one carry-on suitcase and boarded a plane to Paris for a week-long jaunt, I never dreamed that a high heel of my only pair of shoes would get caught and break off two days later in a small hole on a sidewalk in the 16th arrondissement.

It was thanks to that one pair of classic taupe Amalfi heels, however, that I had the most singular experience--about an hour and half before my hobbling descent into hell. Because those shoes determined what I wore, I necessarily dressed the entire trip looking as though I were on my way to a reception or job interview. So much so that while wearing a smart jersey ensemble and standing around on the terrace of the Palais de Tokyo admiring the building's architecture, a guardian at a side entrance mistook me for an invited guest to a private exposition being held there.

"Mademoiselle," he called to me in a loud whisper from a side entrance, "C'est par ici..."  Knowing only that he had said "it's over here," I hesitantly stepped in. Lo and behold, I had just been ushered into an invitation-only pre-viewing of the first major Modigliani retrospective in recent times.

Travel tip: Pack lightly, but not that lightly. Always take at least two pairs of shoes. After dislodging my shoe's heel, I was able to hail a taxi and go straight to a shoe repair shop or cordonnerie, but had this happened after closing hours it would have been an entirely different matter.

Text & photo ©2010 P.B.Lecron

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