These days everybody in Italy is excited about the fast train connection between the two main cities, Rome and Milan. If you believe the Italian media, the "Frecciarossa" train on this route is a technological jewel without rivals. Needless to say, this is not true. It takes two minutes to check it: The journey between Rome and Milan takes 3 hours 30 minutes to cover 632 km, averaging a speed of 180.57 km/h (Sources: http://www.temporis.info/mobinaut_distanzeferroviarie.htm for distance and www.trenitalia.it for the timetable). Compare it with the journey between the two main French cities, Paris and Marseille. The journey from Paris to Marseille covers a distance of 783 km; it takes at most 3 hours 18 minutes (for an average speed of 237.27 km/h), and at least 3 hours 2 minutes (for an amazing average speed of 256.72 km/h (Sources: http://www.theirearth.com/index.php/news/tgv-paris-to-marseille-in-3-hours and www.sncf.fr). The Italian "high-speed" train is like my Toyota Yaris 1.3 compared to an AUDI 3.0 turbo.
Therefore, it should cost less, right? Of course not! I randomly selected a day in January, Thursday 14, for a comparison. A single trip between Milan and Rome would cost me no less than €54, with four available choices between 6:15 and 7:15am. Price per km: €0.085. A single trip between Paris and Marseille would cost me €45 on any of the 6 trains available in the morning and €34.90 for a train in the afternoon or in the evening. Price per km: €0.057 in the morning, €0.045 in the afternoon/evening. That is, half price with respect to the Italian train.
To sum up: The French high-speed train is faster, cheaper and much more frequent than the Italian one. Not to mention the fact that there is availability of high-speed trains between virtually any two French cities, while in Italy the connections between most cities are served by old, dirty, slow and overcrowded trains.