It's surely not the sort of mistake anyone in France would want to make in public, let alone the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
But on Tuesday during his latest round of New Year's wishes, a slip of the tongue caused Sarkozy momentary embarrassment and brought about a somewhat hollow laugh, as the free daily paper 20 minutes described it, among those in the audience.
It happened in the town of Truchtersheim in the eastern French département of Bas Rhin in Alsace.
It's a region which borders Germany and one, which along with neighouring Lorraine, changed hands several times between the French and the Germans in the 19th and 20th centuries.
After the end of World War II Alsace once again officially became part of France.
Sarkozy was addressing an audience as part of his New Year's wishes, this time to the country's agricultural sector and those living in rural areas and he was talking about the difference in (agricultural) competitiveness between France and Germany.
"I can accept that it's difficult to compete with China and India but not with Germany," he said.
"And I'm not saying that just because I'm in Germany ('Allemagne" in French)...er I mean Alsace," he quickly corrected himself before, as a blogger on the national daily Le Monde wrote, "He tried to make light of his mistake."
Humour perhaps that wasn't necessarily in the best of taste as he made a reference to the programme he has put in place to provide more suitable care for those suffering from Alzheimer's.
Too late though for making light though.
Too late though.
The deed had been done and the moment recorded...for doubtless wider distribution on the Net.
As the weekly news magazine L"Express reminds readers, 2010 was certainly a rich one in terms of slips of the tongue most (in)famously perhaps European member of parliament Rachida Dati's "inflation-fellation" blunder during a television interview.
But confusing Alsace and Germany, although at first sight appearing a trivial mistake, and certainly not an intentional one is (to say the least) "unfortunate given the history of the region."
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