France or England: Which Iconic Country Should I Visit?

London, England.
Image by Eva Dang via Unsplash.
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With such iconic landmarks in each, how do you decide? Do you go for sweeping views from the Eiffel Tower in France or try to catch a glimpse of the queen on the grounds of Buckingham Palace in England?

While France has plenty to boast about, such as being the most visited country in the world and having the oldest person ever to have lived, England also has its fair share of accolades too. As well as being the birthplace of cultural icon, William Shakespeare, did you know over 300 languages are spoken in the capital city of London? Making it one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the world.

So, while both can tempt you to their shores with an abundance of culture, sights, and charm, which one should you pick? Well, with our handy comparison guide of several vacation must haves, we aim to make that decision just a little easier. France or England? – Let the battle of these European icons commence.

France or England: Sightseeing

Eiffel Tower, France.
Image by Pete Linforth via Pixabay

Paris (or ‘the city of light’) is where many of the top sights of France reside. Everything, from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the home of the little known painting, the Mona Lisa (located at the Louvre), and the breathtaking Notre Dame Cathedral (medieval cathedral and great example of Gothic architecture) can all be found in the capital. But beyond the top sights, there are still many things we’d recommend adding to your France itinerary.

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Taking a river cruise down the River Seine, cycling through the vineyards of Bordeaux, hiking the French Alps, or rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous at Cannes Film Festival are simply a few. And for all the family, Disneyland Paris is a fun-filled highlight of any trip.

Like France, most of the iconic landmarks are scattered throughout the capital of England. However, get to grips with the London underground (better known as ‘the tube’) and you’ll be ticking off sights in no time. So, if you still have energy after hitting up all the sights of the capital, including Big Ben (probably the world’s most famous clock), The Tower of London (castle and fortress famous for housing the crown jewels), Buckingham Palace (home of the royals) and the many parks, museums and galleries, there is still plenty more to see.

Stonehenge is one of the most visited locations in England. This prehistoric standing stone circle in Wiltshire is shrouded in mystery and lays claim to many a conspiracy theory. Besides this, there are many cities and breathtaking nature spots to explore. And for the kids, England is home to a selection of epic theme parks and zoos (Alton Towers and Chester Zoo are a couple of the standouts), so no need for them to ever be bored here.

Winner: England, for a slightly more varied sightseeing list.

France or England: Prices

English bank notes and coins.
Image by Stux via Pixabay

Home to two of the most expensive cities in the world, Paris and London, both France and England can definitely prove to be a strain on the ol’ wallet in some areas. But in general, which one will leave you with a little extra at the end of the day?

Not thought to be a particularly cheap country, France does have some areas where your money can go a lot further, away from the uber pricey likes of Lyon, the French Riviera, and Marseille. For example, in the southern city, Montpellier, you’re looking at an average daily budget of around €84 ($99), compared to Paris’s hefty daily budget of €184 ($217). However, with a range of hostels, camping sites and Airbnb rentals, there are many ways to keep some extra cash for all that great French food on offer.

So, while Paris is more expensive than most English cities, outside of this money draining city there are many cheaper places compared to England. According to cost comparison site, Budget Your Trip, the least amount you are likely to spend in a day in England is around £75 ($101). However, if you have your heart set on bustling capital, London, expect to be shelling out in the region of £15 – 30 ($20 – 40) per meal and a minimum of around £60 -70 ($81 – 94) for a budget hotel.

Winner: France overall, unless you’re staying in Paris.

France or England: Weather

Sun shining on road in Arudy, France.
Image by Enrique Vidal Flores via Unsplash

With the unpredictability of English summers, France definitely has the upper hand on this one.

Summers in France tend to generally be sunny and warm, not often exceeding temperatures of 28°C (82°F). However, climate does vary depending on where you are. The north of France experiences milder temperatures than the southern Mediterranean coastland. So, if you’ve just hopped on a train from the French Riviera, you may feel a slight chill in the air at your next destination. However, with temperatures not quite as scorching up north, it is the perfect temperature for long days spent exploring the beauty of your surroundings.

Like France, weather in England also tends to vary a lot, with the south often basking in the higher temperatures. However, like many a Hollywood movie portrays, it’s not completely unheard of for English summers to be a washout, with rain more abundant in the west. If you’re looking to pack the bikinis and swimming trunks for your trip, a recommended time to visit England is in May, which has had the most recorded hours of sunshine in the past six years. However, temperatures are often higher in July, reaching up to over 30°C (86°F) in recent years. But despite this, it is often the wettest summer month in many areas (but you may just want to take that risk).

Winner: France, for plenty more chance of sun.

France or England: Food & drink

Croissant and raspberries.
Image by Tony Flood via Pixabay

Ahh, French food. Most likely, the classic images of the baguette, croissant, and brie cheese spring to mind. However, that is simply the tip of the iceberg in French delicacies. Dining out in any restaurant across the country you are likely to spot beef bourguignon on the menu. This tender beef stew in a rich red wine sauce is a much-loved choice in these parts. However, you can tell the French like a good stew, with pot-au-feu (beef cuts boiled with vegetables) generally considered to be their national dish. But before any vegetarians start worrying, there is plenty for you too. Ratatouille (stewed vegetables) is another firm favorite in France. And for the ultimate in meal satisfaction, wash any of these courses down with a nice glass of Bordeaux – a highly regarded French red wine.

But move over France, England has the fish and chips. Okay, so the generally considered national dish here is not quite of the same elegance, but few places do this simple delicacy quite so tastily. Head over to the beach resort of Brighton for some interesting variations of this traditional seaside favorite. However, while bangers and mash, full English breakfast, and roast dinners are generally what spring to mind when thinking English cuisine, you may be surprised at one of the other contenders for the national dish – chicken tikka masala. With many people attributing its origin to the South Asian community in Britain, it is seen as a dish that represents the multiculturism of the country and is one of the most popular foods in England.

Winner: France, the food truly is world class here.

France or England: Beaches

Brighton Beach, England.
Image by Audrey H via Unsplash

Beaches in France generally tend to equal long sandy stretches and dazzling, sun capturing waters, with many of the best being found in the south. The beaches of the French Riviera rival some of the best in Europe.

One such seaside paradise is Plage Paloma, which takes its name from Pablo Picasso’s daughter, Paloma Picasso, whom he regularly brought to this spot. This dreamy location features some unbeatable coastal views, as well as being a haven for watersports enthusiasts. However, great seaside escapes can be found throughout the country, with Deauville Beach in the Normandy region being another favorite. With an expansive stretch of white sand for the sun worshippers and plenty of eateries nearby, this is a perfect family beach.

So, how does England compare? Well, England is by no means void of impressive seaside landscape but whether you’ll get to take advantage of them is another question. With English summers not always equating to sun, unfortunately a beach day may not always be on the cards (not to say France couldn’t be struck with unfortunate weather either of course).

But if the sun is shining, our top picks of English beaches would include Brighton Beach (although pebbly, Brighton Pier is somewhat of an icon), Bournemouth Beach (ranked within the top 25 beaches in the world), and award-winning Woolacombe Beach on Devon’s north coast. However, if you’re looking for that vacation atmosphere, head over to the buzzing fairground surrounds of Blackpool Beach. Or if you’re looking for the next best wave, it’s got to be the beaches of Cornwall (surf capital of the UK).

Winner: Draw, as each destination offers its own attributes.

France or England: Accommodation

A hotel room in France.
Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay

Often being a make-or-break aspect to any vacation, choosing accommodation wisely is a must. But does France or England provide you with better choice?

In France, you’re looking at a wide variety of places to choose from. You can opt for quintessential French villas, where vineyards and historic towns are minutes from your doorstep or camp sites nestled amongst the majestic French Alps. Or perhaps you’d prefer to choose from an assortment of hotels and hostels just a stone’s throw from all the best city sights. One thing for sure is that you shouldn’t struggle too much to find what you’re looking for. However, be aware that accommodation prices vary greatly depending on where you base yourself. So, if you’re looking for an epic room view of the Eiffel tower, be prepared to pay top dollar for it.

In England, you may not have the likes of the French Alps or the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop but there are plenty of great accommodation choices here also, from quaint farm cottages to ‘haunted’ castles. Or how does waking up on a canal sound? Or perhaps being one with nature in some treehouse lodgings? Well, England has a bit of this and more. However, don’t worry, if quirky lodgings are not for you, there are bundles of hotels, hostels, Airbnb lodgings, and camping options to choose from too.

Winner: England, for the added quirky options.

France or England: History & culture

Stonehenge, England.
Image by Zdenek Tobias via Pixabay

France or England in the history & culture department is definitely not an easy separation. And in fact, both countries have been very closely linked through conquest, wars, and alliances throughout history. England actually ruled many parts of what is now France.

Learn about France’s rich history and the rise of Napoleon at the Museum of the French Revolution or simply wander the streets of Paris, where history reveals itself in much of the Gothic architecture. France is actually ranked fourth in the world for the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it’s certainly easy to see why. As well as boasting astounding amounts of historical sites, France is equally known for its world class culture, with it being the birthplace of many of the greatest artists and fashion designers to grace the planet.

However, England’s historical and cultural significance is also a major player on the world stage. Whether you’re visiting the monumental Tower of London, exploring the prehistoric wonder that is Stonehenge or walking in the footsteps of the Vikings in the fascinating city of York, there is plenty to immerse yourself in here. And for music lovers, it doesn’t get much better than being the birthplace of The Beatles. Or if you’re a writer on your travels, a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon is a must. This medieval market town is where you’ll find Shakespeare’s childhood home – that ought to boost the inspiration.

Winner: Draw, both have bundles of it.

France or England: Conclusion

And the winner is …. France.

So, when it comes to the question of France or England for the next vacation choice, we feel France takes the top spot just slightly in terms of cuisine, weather, and general cost. However, if you’re craving those fish and chips and perhaps don’t mind a spot of drizzle with your beach day, England has just as much to offer in many other aspects.

But we definitely think both are countries deserve space in the travel planner.

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