Strasbourg with my sisters had its amusing moments, especially when it came to speaking French. Coming from Canada, we like to think we speak more of the language than we actually do. Our high-school French classes taught us to describe the weather, order pizza with an array of toppings, deliver presentations about Coco Chanel, but not much else.
So what do you do when you find yourself in Strasbourg with a handful of garbage and not a trash bin in sight? You approach a restaurant owner and in your best French ask, “Où est le gar-bahhhj?”
That sounds French, non?
The woman looked back at us with a quizzical brow. “La poubelle?” she offered.
Pffft, la poubelle? What’s she talkin’ about?! “No, no madame. Le gar-bahhhj,” we repeated.
This went back and forth longer than I care to admit until she pointed us to the garbage bin.
What can I say, French clearly isn’t our forte.
Ordering food didn’t go much better. We could decipher things like mushrooms, ham, and cheese, but we completely missed the part about our crepes being whole wheat and coming with a raw egg on top. Quoi?
So do you wait for the heat of the warm crepe to cook the egg, or do you eat it just the way it is? It was the latter… Mmm, bon appetit ma sœur! Ashley looks like she was loving her meal.
Surely purchasing boat tickets to cruise down the Ill River would go much better?
Un billet s’il vous plait.
To which the woman behind the counter responded in a stream of German.
Deutsch? No, no! I want to practice my French.
I know I don’t sound very refined, but German, really? I am going to blame that one on the fact that Strasbourg lies minutes from the French-German border…or perhaps my French really is that bad.
Je ne sais pas. But travelling with my sisters sure was a lot of fun. Now I just have to lure them out to Asia for more language faux-pas like this one.
If you’re looking to practice your Francais, you may want to check out prices on flights to La France at cheapflights.co.uk. Bon voyage!