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How well or poorly can a vistitor get along speaking only English in Alsace?

by Ray Kempf
(Delray Beach, Fl, USA)

Wow, I love the website. Many thanks.


My Great grandfather was from Ferrette. He fought in the Franco-Prussian War and when the Germans annexed Alsace moved to Basel. Married a Swiss women, had 3 children and headed to the U.S. and had 13 more children including my grandfather.

I have always been interested in the heritage. So here is my question.

How will I get along in the area speaking only English? My wife is Swedish but that language will be little help.

I have plans of visiting for several weeks most likely in September.

Thanks in advance.
Ray Kempf

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Speaking English in Alsace
by: Suzele

Hi Ray,

To answer your question "Can I get along well in Alsace only speaking English?", I need more info...

It depends on what you are planning on doing.

If you're just coming over to eat the food, drink some wine, and take some photos in the big cities or the well known wine road villages in Alsace, then my answer is yes.

You'll be fine in the well known areas of Alsace for normal tourist activities...

Even if they only speak a little bit of English...charades always works ; )

People in villages that never have tourists are less likely to understand English. You never know...you could get lucky...

But ordering food isn't so hard even if you don't speak French.

Or getting a room in a hotel...

It does help if you are open to having an adventure (where you don't know for sure what will happen)...

Although I can promise you that nothing life threatening is likely to happen to you on the wine road in Alsace!

I also highly recommend a sense of humor when visiting any country where you don't understand the language...

And if you're still not comfortable, you can always hire me as your tour guide : )

Hope it helps,
Suzele


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Speaking English in Alsace
by: Anonymous

My wife and I just spent two weeks in Alsace. Neither of us speak much French.. only basic greetings.. bonjour etc.

We found just about everyone... waiters, shopkeepers, eager to help us understand even though they may not speak English.

But usually, they could speak more English than we could French. Somehow we communicated, and it was fun.

The Alsatian people were always very helpful when they realize you don't speak French. Sometimes they assumed we spoke German and started speaking to us in German, but then when we asked "English?"

They realized we weren't German and tried to communicate with charades or whatever way they could. It all worked out well.

I was a little intimidated because I had some "not so good" experiences with language problems in Paris.

But that was not the case in Alsace. Everyone was very helpful.

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