France Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

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  • 0:05 France: Background
  • 0:28 French History
  • 1:44 Famous Regions & Landmarks
  • 2:16 French Culture
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Instructor
Jennifer Lowery

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

Expert Contributor
Lesley Chapel

Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

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!

France: Background

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's 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.

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 and queen. 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.

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.

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Additional Activities

Prompts About France:

Timeline Prompt:

Since France is one of the oldest countries in the world, make a timeline that shows the major events in its history, particularly as they relate to government and politics.

Example: You can begin your timeline by noting that France was first called Gaul, and you can end your timeline with a note that today's French citizens elect their government leaders.

Illustration Prompt:

Draw a picture of one of France's famous landmarks or areas mentioned in the lesson. You can look up images of your chosen landmark or area, or simply draw it as you imagine it to be from the way it is described in the lesson.

Example: If drawing Provence, you would use lots and lots of purple crayons or markers to illustrate its famous lavender fields!

List Prompt:

Make a list of at least four French foods. You can even draw pictures next to each item on your list. You can refer to the lesson, but try to recall as many from memory as you can.

Example: For escargot, you could draw a snail.

Travel Prompt:

Create a poster or travel brochure that details French culture and landmarks for prospective tourists. It can help to use lots of images to present your ideas to attract tourists.

Example: If making a brochure, the cover could show the Eiffel Tower or even the Mona Lisa.

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