Even without some knowledge of history, one might suspect something amiss in Alsace (that’s in France, for anyone not having had the luxury of advanced education). Almost all towns end in something slightly Germanic. The leading suffix is -heim , but plenty end in –hausen, -au, -wihr, -entzen, or -bach. I can just imagine French people living in other departments trying to pronounce Mittelbergheim, a classic German building-block construction.
Perhaps, names were changed in the past after one or two border alterations, and then people got tired to switching. Flags are easy to pull down and be replaced by one having been saved for just such a reoccurrence. And, children learn both languages in school. Pending the next border-wrenching war, they are useful in dealing with tourists.
Many Swiss cities have a different name in each language (Basel, Bâle). Which reminds me of a joke: An American returned from a trip to Switzerland and complained to a neighbor about how confusing city names were. “There’s this one city. It’s called Lausanne is French, Luzern in German, and Lugano in Italian.”
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.