The study investigates differences in firm productivity levels between France and Germany within the manufacturing sector. In addition, it analyzes the possible asymmetric effect that the Great Recession had on firm productivity in both countries. Our results reveal a systematic productivity advantage of Germany over France in the manufacturing industry over the period 2003-2013. This is explained by a lead of Germany over France in almost every sector considered. At the same the productivity gaps have significantly narrowed down over time. This result is explained both by a better performance of French firms in every sector and by a deterioration of German firms in some sectors, especially after the Great Recession.