Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tour in a Foreign Language

One way to make a tour more interesting is to take it in a foreign language. Travelling with native speakers of your chosen language gives you a lot of language practice, and allows you to interact with people when they are generally in a good mood.

Of course, you should speak and understand the language reasonably well, both for safety (not getting lost or left behind) and for your own enjoyment of the tour. I have taken several tours of varying duration that were partly or entirely in French, and one or two short ones in German. The French tours included a Mediterranean cruise and a Nile cruise, as well as a day trip to the Black Forest of Germany from Strasbourg, France.

If you are looking for tours in French, consider those departing from Montreal as well as those based in France. A company called Celebritours ( has some interesting offerings at moderate prices, particularly given that the Canadian dollar is trading at around 90 cents U.S. For example, a circuit of Tunisia costs about $2,000 Canadian for 16 days and includes air fare from Montreal as well as 34 meals.

Long stays abroad are even less costly, with 22 days in Tunisia with 59 meals for about $1,700, or the same in Morocco for about $2,000. Another Montreal-based company that offers unusual foreign tours is Exotik Tours (

I am less familiar with German language tour operators, but a well-known one is Hapag Lloyd, ( which operates luxury cruises aboard five different vessels. I have seem one of their ships, the Europa, in port here in Montreal. Some of the cruises offered by Viking River Cruises ( have both German and English passengers, with separate dining rooms and decks usually, but no restrictions on joining the other group if you wish.

If you happen to be travelling in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, it should be easy to find German-language tours through virtually any travel agent. I remember booking a plane ticket some years ago at a travel agency in Berlin. It went OK even though the agent didn't speak much English, but it took me a minute or so to recognize that what she was calling Nevark was just the German pronounciation of Newark, New Jersey.

Taking a tour or cruise in a different language is a chance to see new places and greatly improve your facility in that language.


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