Tour de France: God's own county vs 'the most arrogant country in the world': Which is better – France or Yorkshire?

The Independent's unscientific head-to-head between the Tour de France's spiritual home and its new home for the weekend

The Tour de France is underway, and for the first time in its history it begins in Yorkshire, which means over the next two days the world’s most famous cycling race will bring a slice of Gallic flair to places like Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield.

So, in celebration of this amalgamation of Yorkshire and French cultures, here is an entirely unscientific head-to-head between a county whose residents proclaim it to be 'God’s own county' and a country that is so arrogant it once voted itself the most arrogant in Europe.

Famous people:

Victor Hugo or Paul and Barry Chuckle? Victor Hugo or Paul and Barry Chuckle?

For every Georges Danton there is a William Wilberforce, for every Emile Zola there is a Charlotte Bronte and for every Dr Antoine Louis (the man who invented the guillotine) there is a James Henry Atkinson (the man who invented the mousetrap). However, in terms of quality, quantity and sheer breadth of achievement (think Claude Monet, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Louis Pasteur), France wins hands down.

Sporting prowess:

Jessica Ennis-Hill picking up one of Yorkshire's seven gold medals at London 2012 Jessica Ennis-Hill picking up one of Yorkshire's seven gold medals at London 2012  

While the French might have a (fairly recent) World Cup under their belt and be home to sporting superstars such as Zinedine Zidane, Alain Prost and Bernard Hinault, you only have to look to the London Olympics to see that when it comes to athleticism, determination and competitiveness Yorkshire has it in abundance. During the Games, athletes from Yorkshire won a total of 12 medals including seven golds, placing Yorkshire twelfth in the overall medals table. Not bad for a place with a population of only 6 million.

Food:

France means food. They have 25 different restaurants that hold three Michelin stars; nine of these are in Paris alone. It is also one of the world’s biggest wine makers, producing 8 billion bottles a year. In addition to this, search any top ten list of the world’s greatest cuisines and French food will usually be found near the top. Yorkshire may not be internationally renowned for haute cuisine (as delicious as Yorkshire Puddings and Henderson’s Relish might be), but it does have more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other English county and, with breweries like Thornbridge and Saltaire, it has some of the best places to get real ale in Britain.

Places to go:

Scarborough, well it's not quite Cannes is it? Scarborough, well it's not quite Cannes is it?

If you were going to use one word to sum up whether France or Yorkshire had better places to visit or go on holiday, it would have to be Riviera. The French Riviera stretches along the Mediterranean Sea and takes in the sunny and glamorous coastal resorts of Cannes, Monaco and Nice. The Yorkshire equivalent is the stretch of coast between the perfectly pleasant but far less exotic Scarborough and Whitby.  The Yorkshire Dales provide great getaways for the avid rambler, but these cannot match up to the sheer scale of The Alps. Even for the kids, Flamingo Land Malton doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Disneyland Paris.

Landmarks:

France, one big landmark in itself France, one big landmark in itself

From east to west, Yorkshire is littered with diverse landmarks and buildings that tell of its rich history.  It has a ridiculous number of castles, including York, which has stood for nearly a millennium, as well as massive mills across the West of Yorkshire - the buildings that were the lungs of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Nevertheless, France is pretty much a landmark in itself. Aside from Paris – which is stuffed full with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Le Sacre-Coeur and Notre Dame, there is also Le Mont Saint Michel in Brittany, the fortified town of Carcassonne, Reims Cathedral and Le Pont de Normandie. France has so many landmarks it has even been known to give some away, as the Statue of Liberty, New York’s most famous monument, proves.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Data Capture / Telesales

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Front Of House Team Member

£16500 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Manager

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has won the award ...

Recruitment Genius: Store Manager & Store Supervisor

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific