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France vs Germany

We are planning on eventually seeing both of these countries, but which one would be the best to start with? We are looking at going in May of next year for about 3 weeks, so far both look too good to pick just one!


Posted by
427 posts

germany: frankfurt,berlin,munich, rothenburg etc. you wont need train reservations as you would in france

Posted by
1568 posts

In my opinion, flying into Frankfurt would be much easier. We really loved Germany. Very clean. People treat you nice.

Posted by
36 posts

Joanne, in my experience there seem to be "France people" and "Germany people," and maybe you are one of the very lucky few who will enjoy both equally! Some of the folks I love best are "France people" and I'm definitely a "Germany person." Partly because I do better understanding spoken German than spoken French, I've traveled fairly extensively in Germany, but have spent only a few days in Paris (and no time at all elsewhere in France.) My comments are very one-sided as a result. While I liked Montmartre, what I saw of the rest of Paris, while certainly beautiful in places, somehow didn't enthrall me; Germany grabbed me at first glance. It's a country of great natural beauty. The forests, hills, rivers, and old cities are the stuff of fairy tale. The people, while rather reserved, are gracious, helpful, and remarkably patient with my imperfect German. But again, I'm a biased witness. Have a great time, whichever country you choose!

Posted by
2779 posts

That's like the question: "USA or Canada, what's more interesting?" It really depends on what you expect from your trip. Germany is isn't really just one country, it's still like 120 year ago sveral kingdoms, dukedoms and princedoms with different culture, food, beverages, sights etc. France is just one large country with only minimum variation. A village in Normandy pretty much equals one in the Provence. This most certainly is a much different question than "Disneyland vs. Six Flaggs"...

Posted by
800 posts

Joanne - here is a vote for doing France first. We have been to both but with 3 weeks you will really be able to get out and get a good look at the countryside of France. Our 3 week trip started in Paris (actually my least favorite of the European cities we've been to) with the usual sites, including Versailles. We then rented a car and drove to Normandy for a few days. Loved the D-Day museum at Caen and the Normandy beaches and cemetaries are something everyone should see. We then toured the Loire Valley and rested a few days along the coast of Brittany - a really beautiful part of the country. Our favorite part though was a week in the Dordogne (rented part of an old chapel!). This part of France has lots of tourist from Europe but few Americans. You can see the ancient cave drawings and have the best food ever. We finished with a few days in Languedoc, seeing Carcasonne and the Cathar Castles. We flew out of Barcelona. Wish we had had time for Provence. Try France first!

Posted by
4555 posts

Pick whichever country has the best airfare deals from Calgary. With high speed trains, excellent highways, and discount airlines, you could concievably spend two weeks in the destination country, and a week in the other. From Calgary, flyzoom offers flights to Paris-CDG...other destinations would be Frankfurt or Munich via Air Canada. Another option would be to fly into London and catch a discount flight for either Germany or France.

Posted by
18863 posts

According to EU statistics, 50% of all Germans speak English, but only 36% of French speak English.

Posted by
26 posts

Petty language issues aside, I'd concur with most of these folks on the diversity that Germany offers. I will put in a nod for France, though. Paris is Paris after all, and in my opinion it could demand three weeks' attention. Normandy, Brittany, and Alsace-Lorraine are all enjoyable in their own right. Either way, you can't lose between these choices you have!

Posted by
206 posts

I am doubtful about that language statistic, and wouldn't worry about it. When I was in France, I always started my feeble attempts at conversation in French. After some mangling, they felt sorry for me and spoke English. :-)

Posted by
421 posts

Each place has its own charm. I think it is a matter of personal opinion. I personally and in love with France and my parents for example love Germany. The language barriers aside, my french is limited and my german is NIL.

I think the only way to really find out is to experience them for yourself.
My fav place in the world is Paris, from my first visit it felt like home to me.

Posted by
934 posts

Ive been to both and liked them equally.I would fly to paris or Frankfurt which ever had the best fares and travel to the other.

Posted by
7 posts

Having been to both I would choose Germany without question. There are lovely areas in the France countryside but to me Paris is highly over-rated (will likely have some disagreements with this).

However, if you are in Europe you cannot go wrong!

Posted by
125 posts

I have to agree with the majority on this as well. While I liked Northern France, for me, Germany is my favorite (and I was not as excited about going there as I was about France). We only went to Munich and Berlin but loved both. If you like outdoor activities I think you can't go wrong with Germany- but do what you like. I liked how clean it was and outlook on life the German people had.

Posted by
1589 posts

Add another Germany vote. We lived in Germany, near the French border, for several years and had the chance to tour both countries rather intensively. No slam on France, but Germany had more charm, clarity and patience for tourists.

Have fun!

Posted by
2 posts

With 3 weeks, I personally think you have time to see both countries. I would pick one or two areas in each country you want see most and work out a plan to see those.

If you want to focus on one country, I vote for France! I have to disagree about France being one homogeneous country. With the Brittany, Languedoc, Alsace, and even Provence, you have four very distinct regions with different cultures and even dialects.

I found the people in smaller towns very welcoming, and the culture intriguing. Paris is the most beautiful place I have ever been, and the Parisians were very nice to me and my wife. I speak very little French, and after learning to butcher a few key phrases I was able to survive and enjoy my trip. I liked Germany too, but I loved France.

Posted by
38 posts

They both have distinct beauty and charm. Have to admit that I fell in love with France at last visit. My favorite places were Sarlat, Rocamadour, Paris, and Provence in general.

Posted by
554 posts

Hi Joanne:

They're both wonderful destinations. Each has it's distinct language, culture, traditions, etc. We fall in love with them for these reasons.

I disagree with those who say "If you've seen one village or town in France, they're all alike". Different regions offer various cuisine technigues, different wines and beers, and the geography is in contrast to the other regions.

We loved France and saw Paris and some of Normandy.
This year we're trying to see some of Germany.

What's being harvested? What's the weather like?
Are there any special festivals or events going on in May?

What season do you prefer to be in Paris, Spring or Fall? What season do you prefer to be in Munich, Spring or Octoberfest time?

Since you're planing on visiting both, just pick the one that you believe you'll be more comfortable in and save the other for next time.

It's good to have an idea of what you do and see in each country. That may help you with your decision.


Posted by
101 posts

Four years ago we did France and England. Last summer we did Germany and Austria. Liked them both but loved Germany and Austria. If you are going to France to see Paris, I guess everyone should see Paris, it was beautiful, historical, but the people do not like Americans. It is not overt but no mateer what Rick Steves says, it does exist. I will only fly to Paris to rent a car to go to Normandy and/or Alsace region..they like us there and it is gorgeous. My pick would be Bavaria and Austria. If you think Bavaria is beautiful wait until you see Austria./ Rent a car with a GPS (Hertz) and drive throught the mountains....just tremendous.

Posted by
2779 posts

Just on the rental car/GPS issue: Sixt cars from the size of a Focus come with GPS, too.

Posted by
152 posts

I vote for Germany. I love the food, etc. The people in Southern Germany are so friendly. Rather than Frankfort try Stuttgart. Love that airport. It is small and easy to get around. It is close to the Romantic Road and Bavarie. Hope you have a great time no matter what you chose.

Posted by
850 posts

Enjoyed Paris, Mont Saint Michel and especially the D-Day beaches at Normandy but if I had to choose it would be Bavaria and Austria. Benn there several times and never tire of it. Love the smaller towns and villages, buildings and driving through these two countries is most enjoyable. More so with a gps which we took with us.
A lot depends on your personal interests so what is a favorite for one is not for another as evidenced by the different opinions here.

Posted by
37 posts

Thank-you everyone for your replies. Even though the votes on this page were overwhelmingly in favour of Germany, we have decided to go to France for our May 2008 trip. This was based on many factors, including the fact that we are both fairly comfortable with French, haven taken years of it in school and that a friend of ours from Hamburg recommended going to Germany in the autumn and seeing France in the spring.

Thanks again for all of your replies,