France or Spain? Invariably it will be a matter of personal choice. I prefer Spain for its language, culture, architecture, landscape, and weather.
The arguments in the Times columns were interesting and comprehensive. However I thought the comment about Spanish food being all about paella and tapas was unfair. I love the wonderful fresh fish served in many seafood restaurants and there is a culture of traditional regional food.
I also don’t think the crime statistics put forward by Mark tells the whole story. I suspect that much crime in France is concentrated in the big cities in the surburban estates as highlighted by the recent riots whilst the rural areas where Brits buy are low crime areas. In contrast I read recently that 1 in 8 Brits are robbed in Spain and the recent post about Sotogrande crime and the Costa del Crime TV series also paint a different picture. The latter highlighted very high gun crime on the Costa del Sol and a knife culture amongst Spanish youth apart from the booze inspired yob behaviour from young Brits in the big resorts.
Whilst Spain comes out ahead for me there were three things I don’t like
about Spain, certainly in the Almeria & Murcia regions which I toured recently; the acres of plastic greenhouses that spoil parts of these areas (yes I do realise the economic benefits to the region), the amount of roadside litter and rubbish and the number of abandoned dogs wandering the streets even in very small inland villages.
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