Though you might know the words to ask for your daily French baguette, shoe shopping in France is the next step up.
If you don’t travel prepared, you could find yourself lost in translation or worse: flicking through the hundreds of pages of your French-English dictionary for the main part of your vacation.
Here are a few essentials to help you on your way and save precious shoe shopping time!
Shoe types in French
Chaussures : shoes
Chaussures pour femme : women’s footwear.
Chaussures pour enfant : children’s footwear.
Chaussures pour homme : men’s footwear.
Escarpins : court shoes
Ballerines : pumps
Sandales : sandals, although this sounds a little more peasant like than female… Use the word pied-nus and you will be on the right track to a nice new pair of open shoes.
Baskets : running shoes or trainers – not something you particularly need to come to France for, but you may feel a sudden urge to run along the Seine !
Chaussures à talons : High heeled shoes, talon haut meaning high heel, petit talon meaning small heel.
Chaussures basses : low shoes.
Bottes : Boots, generally knee length boots.
Bottines : Low boots. Using the English word boots will also be understood as used by some designers, magazines…
Talons aiguilles : Now you can use the same Italian word, stilletos, but if you want to sound really French, this is the French translation.
Chaussures de ville : every day, smart footwear.
Espadrilles : Same word goes. If you are looking for high espadrilles, then you may like to use the words talons compensés to describe the platform heel.
The French words to get the right shoe size
Shoe sizes vary from country to country, here is a guide to make sure that you don’t end up with high heels that fit your husband !
Une pointure : a shoe size.Le talon : heel
La pointe : the peak of the foot, the toes.
Les orteilles : the toes.
Chaussettes : socks.
Collants/Bas : Tights/Stockings.
Magasin de chaussures : shoe store
« C’est trop petit » : It’s too small
« C’est trop grand » : It’s too big
« C’est trop large » : It’s too large
« Quel est le prix de ces chaussures ? » : « What is the price for these shoes? »
A few addresses for shoe shopping in France, with a focus on Paris
Now that you know the words, you need to know where to go ! Here are a few ideas, a few places you may like to visit on your Parisian spree :
– Go féminin with Michel Vivien (15 Rue Molière); you’ll find good old Pierre Hardy (known for his designs signed Hermès) on 156 Galerie de Valois, Jardins du Palais Royal, and you can check out the amazing Bruno Frisoni at 34 Rue de Grenelle, 7th Arr.
– Some other general stores you may enjoy looking through would be Valerie Duboucheron’s shoe-and-bag shop (3rd Arr), Iris (7th Arr), Biondini (Champs Elysées) and maybe even a men’s shoe shop named Le Bon Marché (7th Arr).
Now you’re set up for a a little bit (or a lot) of French retail therapy, while shoe shopping in France !