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How to say 'tap water' in Italian, French, German

How do you ask for tap water with your meals in Italy, France, and Austria? Thx in advance...I didn't have any luck with babel fish.

Posted by
223 posts

In France you ask for "une carafe d'eau", pronounced" oone (rhymes with "noon") CAR-afe d'eau (rhymmes with beau). oone CAR-afe d'eau.

Posted by
18064 posts

I am not sure Normalwasser couldn't be interpreted as water without gas.

Another word would be Leitungswasser. Leitung is a pipe (one meaning).

Posted by
18064 posts

In Germany, I always say "Ein bier, bitte". That gets me what I want.

But seriously, try saying "Normal Wasser" (nor mahl' Vas' ser) or "Hahn Wasser". Hahn (lit. rooster) is what they call a faucet (Wasserhahn).

Posted by
2779 posts

I'm not sure an Austrian waitress would ever serve you some tap water as in cultural-rich Austria that kind of water is reserved to dogs and other animals. By ordering tap water you automatically put yourself on the level as... good old Spikey. But you're American, feel free to try...The German word for tap water is "Leitungswasser" [ly-toongs-wah-za]. For a more human approach order "Stilles Wasser" (still water).

Posted by
576 posts

Whoa! Tap water is for the dogs? I drink tap water not because I'm poor, or even a farm animal. I feel that trashing a plastic bottle everytime I'm thirsty is a nasty thing to do to our environment.

Posted by
473 posts

First, the phrase for tap water in all 3 languages is in Rick Steve's French/Italian/German phrasebook, along with pronunciations. I highly recommend it. Second, in Italy, when we asked for tap water, the waiter would definitely look down his nose at us. From the previous comment about Austria, I imagine that the same would happen in Austria. Anyways, in Italy, we quickly learned to just pay the extra 2 dollars or so and order a liter of tap water. That quickly ended the dirty looks. As RS mentions in his guidebook, in France, a carafe of tap water will gladly be provided it you ask for it. If it's not on the table already.

Posted by
223 posts

I just came across this:

You say, "l'eau du robinet" (L'eau, rhymes with "beau", doo rob-eee-nay) in France, "Leitungswasser" in Germany, "acqua del rubinetto" in Italy, and "agua del grifo" in Spain

I can't help you with the pronunciation of any except the French, although I think the French and Italian (roo-bee-net-to) are really close.

Posted by
517 posts

When we first moved to Vienna, we always asked for Leitungswasser. But we've apparently "gone native" over the years. Not sure if it was the subtle strange looks we got, or simply because that's what everyone else does. Its almost reflexive now to order a caraf of the local wine (Heurige) and a big bottle of mineral water (with or without "gas"). Mineral water almost always comes in a glass bottle, and since Austrians are the kings of recycling, I don't feel bad on that front. [By the way, the last issue of National Geographic has some suggestions in the back pages for how to reduce your "carbon footprint": Take public to work, recycle more, use more efficient refrigerators. Heck they could have just said "live like a European." But I guess that should be a whole new topic of friendly debate!) But, technically, there is nothing wrong with ordering tap water --especially if you are on a budget. With todays exchange rate, every penny counts. (Thank goodness I'm paid in Euros!)