a VirtualTourist member
I am following my dad's path during WWII and plan on visiting Colmar in 2008. I will be traveling from the US. I do not know the French language and am a bit nervous about being able to get along ok while I am there. Also, what is the best time to visit?
May-October is best, in general. You would do well to learn some phrases like greetings, thank you, and 'parlez-vous Anglais' (do you speak English). Trying French is appreciated and English is spoken more and more in France. Don't worry, there more to communication than just words!
As suggested above learn some basic phrases before you come, and take a good phrasebook/dictionary with you. Many people in Europe do have at least a smattering of English, but many choose not to use it....and why should they? So expect to have to use French on occasion (don't worry too much about the accent!)and to see signs etc in French (the phrasebook/dictionary will come in handy for this). But don't worry, because you will cope perfectly well; I have travelled in many countries where I know absolutely nothing of the language other than a few basics, and it's fine. At least the alphabet is the same in France!
At least learn before you travel (for everywhere): yes, no, please, thank you, sorry, excuse me, how much, the bill please, where is.
I'd suggest visiting in May/June; pleasant weather but not too hot.
yes = oui
no = non
please = s'il vous plaît
thank you = merci or merci bien (thank you very much)
sorry/excuse me = excusez-moi
how much = Combien?
the bill please = L'addition, s'il vous plaît
where is = où est...
toilet = toilettes
can I have/I want: je voudrais ... (not: je veux!)
I'd forgotten the toilets..........:-(
The best time to visit may be may-june and september (july and august can be extremely hot).
Alsace is the french region where English is the least spoken : most people are bilingual French/ German - English generally comes a a 3rd language at school (and not many people take a 3rd language).
Anyway, if you are staying in the center town and touristic places - hospitality staff and some young people may speak a bit english.
Colmar is lovely and full of tourists thus much said, language really will not be a problem but, as pointed out in previous replies, it would be curteous to learn a splattering if only to say hello and thank you (with a big apologetic smile for not being able to say anything else!).
If you want a really good but not hugely expensive hotel, we found The Amiral to be great: [original VT link]
Thanks everyone. Yes, I understand the courtesies of learning at least some basic words when going to a non-english speaking region. Out of respect, I do always do that. May-June works well into my plans. Thank you again everyone!
You're welcome :-)
hi, whwt you can say about winter time in Colmar?
We will be in Alsace 2-12/12 and Colmar is one of our destination in Alsace. We will be with child 2yo. Our main point is to visit Christmas markets in Alsace.
Check www.weatherunderground.com for Colmar. You can use the history button to see the weather in the previous years for that period.