Espadrilles have quite a history, I found. They've been worn by peasants and shepherds since the 12th century. They became popular in 1880 and were exported all over the world. But it is in this part of France and Spain, Basque country, where they find their origins.
Espadrille are clearly part of French culture. My father-in-law's favorite cartoon character, Gaston Lagaffe, wears a pair of very worn-out blue espadrilles. Poor clumsy, sleepy, lazy Gaston is made fun of for his peasant shoes a bit.
Les Nuls (The Dummies) says, "In espadrille, one looks like an idiot, we get blisters, we dance the disco, in espadrille, it stinks like feet, we buy a new pair after three weeks, in espadrille!"
Knowing all this, how could I refuse that pair of grey espadrille? I'm officially French now.