Italy vs. France: Which Destination Is Right for You?

For many travelers planning a villa vacation in Europe for the first time, the question of where to go inevitably comes down to the two major players: Italy vs. France.

Comparing two destinations is a bit like comparing apples and oranges (or in this case, gelato and éclairs). Each will offer something completely different in terms of sights, cuisine and culture, and to pick a "winner" seems...wrong. But for many travelers planning a villa vacation in Europe for the first time, the question of where to go inevitably comes down to the two major players: Italy vs. France.

To make your decision even more difficult, we offer a wide range of luxury villas in Italy, spanning the country from The Lakes to Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast. And our collection of villas in France is just as extensive, including everything from renovated Provence farmhouses to chic homes along the French Riviera to apartments in the heart of Paris.

So how do you decide which destination is right for you? Let's take a look at three major categories: the sights, the cuisine, and the overall cultural atmosphere.


Both countries have an incredible variety of attractions, from geological treasures to the world’s most famous landmarks. Italy does have more UNESCO World Heritage Sites (49 vs. France’s 38), and it may offer more typical “bucket list” sites: The Colosseum, Pantheon, and Sistine Chapel in Rome; Michelangelo’s David in Florence; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the city of Pompeii. But France, of course, has the undeniable allure of Paris, the most visited city in the world. If you're traveling as a couple, it's hard to turn down the opportunity to picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower or stroll along the Seine. 

You’ll find incredibly diverse landscapes in each country as well. Italy’s terrain ranges from rolling hills of Tuscany to the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, while France offers Europe’s tallest sand dune (The Great Dune of Pyla near the South West region) and the Pink Granite Coast of Brittany


When it comes to each country’s cuisine, deciding your favorite becomes a little more clear-cut. If you’re a fan of fresh food with few ingredients – heartwarming, soulful dishes – you are probably already a fan of Italian cooking with its handmade pasta, simple sauces, and fresh seafood. French food, on the other hand, tends to be more complex, which can translate into highly sophisticated, creative dishes. Not all French food is elaborate, however, and classic dishes like Quiche Lorraine, Ratatouille, or Bouillabaisse can be just as comforting as a lasagna or pizza.

When it comes to wine, both French and Italian wine are legendary – your preference is simply a matter of taste. But if you’re a cheese fanatic, head to France, where you’ll have over 400 varieties to sample.


Again, both countries are extremely varied, and customs vary from region to region. But in general, Italians tend to be a bit more demonstrative and exuberant than their French counterparts, which many travelers find to be a breath of fresh air. The Italian infrastructure can be a bit rough around the edges, however. In France, you are likely to encounter fewer curveballs (strikes, train delays, etc.), as the culture is more rule-oriented, which may be more comfortable for first-time visitors. If you prefer a lively, casual atmosphere, consider Italy; for a more chic experience, try France.

The truth is, you can’t lose with either destination – and you’ll never regret visiting both.

Are you interested in a renting a luxury villa in Europe? Contact us today at 800.289.0900 where a qualified villa expert will help you explore which luxury villa best suits you.