Round 1 Food Refined learned and noble harmoni
Round 1: Food”Refined, learned and noble, harmonious and orderly, clear and logical, the cooking of France is, in some strange manner, intimately linked to the genius of her greatest men.” So said Marcel Rouff, but he’s French, so he’s biased. On the other hand, Charles Pierce said: “The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4am” and anyone who has eaten pizza at dawn after nine pints of lager will concur that the experience is infinitely superior to many things after nine pints of lager…Winner: Italy. A jab, a feint, and bang! Snails and oysters are no match for a stodgy mass of cheese and dough when you’re three sheets to the wind. Round 5: Value for moneyFrance, especially Paris, can be expensive. Standard holiday outlays like hotels and restaurants hit the wallet hard, so keep costs down by resisting coffee in famous Paris cafés, and instead drink cans of supermarket own-brand beer in the park. Which is what holidays are all about, right? Italy is similarly pricey in places, depending on whether you’re in a touristy city like Rome or Florence, or Il Mezzogiorno. So avoid espresso on St. Mark’s Square and stick to getting lashed on illicitly-distilled grappa in rural Puglia.Winner: Italy. The judges have taken a backhander from a sharp-suited cove in darkglasses with a suspiciously Sicilian accent and awarded the round on points to Italy. Round 2: Wine“No poem was ever written by a drinker of water.” Half-cut Roman poet Horace knew what he was talking about. Not that French creative types haven’t been partial to a pichet or two down the years. Wine and Italy go together like Cinzano and lemonade. But then again, where would a holiday in France be without a luscious rosé under Provencal sun, or rounding off a six-course affair with a seductive Sauterne? Costières or Chianti? Vacqueyras or Valpolicella? No contest.Winner: France. Floats like a butterfly, stings like an over-priced Lambrusco at Toni’s Trattoria, Tamworth.More: Extreme wines: 5 unusual wine regions The verdict?And the overall winner is… ItalyWe go to the scorecards. Despite the poor exchange rate in recent years and increased competition from emerging European destinations served by low-cost flights, France and Italy remain perennially popular choices for holidaymakers from the UK in search of sunshine, sights, fine food and, oh go on then, another bottle of wine. Despite being three rounds to two, and the judging slightly suspect throughout, the verdict is unanimous. France has thrown the fight.More: 14 fabulous places in France: in picturesReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Related7 cities where you’ll find the cheapest beer in EuropeFrom cheap ales in Budapest to free wine in Paris, in honour of National Beer Day (15th June) we’ve got seven ideas for city breaks in Europe where your pounds will buy you more pints. Beer we go, then!Parents admit holidaying without kids is bestParents admit holidaying without kids is best5 flights for under £50Five fab spring breaks on a budget for him, for her, and for them. After Spain floored Croatia, we’re back for another bout. Skyscanner puts two holiday heavyweights in the ring to slug it out over five bare-knuckle rounds. Where’s better? France or Italy? The gloves are off. It’s Holiday Fight Club! Round 3: BeachesFrance has the grand sands of Normandy, the rugged coast of Brittany, the surfing paradise of Aquitane and the posing playgrounds of the Riviera. Not to forget Paris Plage. Italy has Puglia’s Tremiti, Tuscany’s Maremma, Calabria’s Viola (oh, those names!), Amalfi, Sardinia… But France has a sucker punch up its sleeve: Corsica, which boasts some the best beaches not just in France, but the world.Winner: France. Bloodied, Italy throws in the towel on its way to Palookaville. They think it’s all over…More: 10 best beautiful secret beaches in Europe Round 4: Cheapest flightsThis looks like a walkover for France. It’s closer to the UK, so flights are bound to be cheaper, right? Looking on Skyscanner, return flights from London Stansted to Dinard, and Manchester to Paris Beauvais in October are both a snip at only £34 return in October. But hang on, flights from Bristol to Milan Bergamo and London Stansted to Pisa are also only £34 return, making the price per mile a lot less to Italy. Meanwhile, a jaunt from Manchester to St. Etienne will set you back a minimum of £2,855.Winner: Italy. Coming off the ropes, Italy lands a left, a right and a haymaker. Well-fancied France is punch-drunk.