We recently visited the Palace of Versailles and what a memorable visit it was. Read here for some of our top tips . Mr 10 describes the Palace as the Chateau where the last King of France lived before he got his head chopped off. Ah well, I’m glad he registered the important facts – some head chopping and a lot of goriness, fantastic!
Are you studying the French Revolution? Or are you planning a visit to Versailles with your family? Check out these ideas and resources below for getting your kids interested in their visit and throw in a bit of French history at the same time. It really helps to provide them with some context before their visit.
Fun Facts about the French Revolution
Have a few fun facts under your belt to spark your children’s interest and to get them involved in their forthcoming visit.
- There were some 700 rooms at Versailles!
- Marie-Antoinette’s hairdresser used to powder her hair with flour
- Some rich people actually bathed in crushed strawberries
- Peasants resorted to eating grass as the price of wheat was so high they couldn’t afford bread
- Louis XVI would purposely trip up his servants ‘for a laugh’ and would drop his trousers as entertainment
*fun facts taken from the horrible histories clips
WATCH – Films & Clips about the French Revolution
Horrible Histories & the French Revolution
If you haven’t watched these before, I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’re hilarious, informative, educational and very, very funny! You can buy or borrow the books [UK readers – click here] or watch the TV series on Amazon Prime [UK readers – click here]. YouTube is your friend – here are some of our favourite clips:
“Historical Wife Swap”: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
‘You’ve been Artois’d‘ – a clip about French nobleman during the time of Louis XVI
Mr Peabody & Sherman – The French Revolution
You’ll definitely want to watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman [US readers] [UK readers – click here]! Or just check out these two youtube links:
The ‘Let them eat cake‘ clip (although Marie-Antoinette never actually said this!)
John Green’s ‘The French Revolution: Crash Course World History’
Check out this fast-talking American who’ll give you a 10 minute crash course on the French Revolution.
Watch Les Miserables [UK readers – click here] which is set against the backdrop of revolutionary France.
Rick Steves in Versailles
This clip about Versailles by Rick Steves will transport you back in time.
Books about the French Revolution
Who Was Marie Antoinette
I absolutely love the ‘Who Was? [UK readers – click here]’ book series and this one is no exception: it summarises perfectly the life of the last Queen of France. It might not suitable if you have very little ones as it provides two pages worth of detail regarding her death and specifically, how she died.
You Wouldn’t Want to be an Aristocrat in the French Revolution!
You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Aristocrat in the French Revolution! A Horrible Time in Paris You’d Rather Avoid. We weren’t able to get ahold of this book and I think it must of out print given the crazy prices quoted on Amazon. We absolutely love the ‘You wouldn’t want to be’ book series. It gets great reviews so go check if your library has it. It’s a great way to get children interested in history. We have 10 from the collection and Miss 7 loves them.
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
I’ve just started reading The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette [UK readers – click here] by Carolly Erickson and am thoroughly enjoying it. This fictional diary is set when Marie-Antoinette was twelve years of age, right until her death. It’s a very easy and enjoyable read.
Podcasts about the French Revolution
You HAVE to listen to this podcast if you want to learn about Marie-Antoinette. The History Chicks will teach you everything you ever need to know about Marie-Antoinette. Check out their podcast here – I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Websites & Blogs about the French Revolution
Check out good old Wikipedia for some background on Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution.
If your children are older (ages 10+), watch/study the series on the French Revolution on the Khan Academy website. It’s such an amazing resource and it’s free.
Learn 10 things you didn’t know about Marie-Antoinette.
This homeschooler provides a list of books on the French Revolution and gives an idea of age appropriateness.
Dig Deeper into the French Revolution
For teenagers (or yourself), dig even deeper and check out these online courses:
Are there any other resources you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!
Jessica | Magnets from Everywhere says
I loved Versailles when I was there 9 years ago and I love that you are making sure you and the kids really understand the historical context. I can’t wait to take the kids and I’ll definitely be referencing this when we go.
We have a trip to Hawaii coming up next month and it’s the first trip we’re preparing the kids for by doing some research and books and movies. I’m so excited to see how it impacts the trip!
The Little Den says
Thank you so much for commenting Jessica. I think it really enhances a visit if you are able to provide some context. Look forward to hearing how your prep for your trip to Hawai impacts your trip!