France Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Are you curious about the land of the Eiffel Tower? In this lesson, learn about French history and discover some unique places and facts about this European country!

Viva la France!

You've probably seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower, or heard about delicious French pastries. But what do you know about France beyond these common images? We know that the United States has 50 states, but did you know that France is divided into 21 regions? It is one of the oldest countries in the world, and the capital is Paris. Paris is home to the famous Eiffel Tower, which is probably the most well-known French landmark.

France is located in Europe and has 21 regions.
Map of France

French History

The history of France is full of excitement and tragedy. Originally, the area now known as France was called Gaul and was conquered by a pretty famous emperor. Perhaps you've heard of Julius Caesar? He was the first leader to conquer France, but he was definitely not the last. After his rule, a group of people called the Franks ruled the area. (Sounds like France, doesn't it? That's where the name comes from!)

Over the years, the French people grew tired of the monarchy, or rule by a king. In 1789, many people invaded the Bastille, a French prison, and this was one of the events that helped bring about the French Revolution. This real-life revolution was more dramatic than any movie! Revolts and rebellion occurred throughout the French countryside, and over one million people lost their lives.

The storming of the Bastille was a significant event in French history.
Original Bastille Day

Ever heard someone say they met their 'Waterloo'? No, they didn't go swimming. This means they were defeated in some way, and it comes from the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He led France to fight and win many victories over other countries, but was eventually defeated in Waterloo, Belgium.

France fought in World War I, and this war ended with the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed in France. Germany invaded France during World War II, and they ruled France for four years until 1944.

Today, the French elect their leaders. There are two important main leaders of the government: the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic.

Famous Regions and Landmarks

You know the famous Paris landmark of the Eiffel Tower, but do you know some of the other famous areas and landmarks in France? Provence is a region in southeastern France that is famous for its miles and miles of lavender fields. Mont Saint Michel is a beautiful medieval building that includes towers surrounding an abbey, a group of church-like buildings. It is built on a rocky island off the coast of Normandy.

Mont Saint Michel is a medieval structure built on a rocky island in France.
Mont Saint Michel Normandy

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