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 planning a visit to Versailles? 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.
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
Horrible Histories clips
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, listen to the the audiobooks or watch the TV series. We found these clips on Youtube and they’re brilliant:
- “Historical Wife Swap”: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
- French Revolution TV report
- ‘You’ve been Artois’d‘, a clip about French nobleman during the time of Louis XVI
You’ll definitely want to watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman! Or just check out these two youtube links:
- The ‘Let them eat cake‘ clip (although Marie-Antoinette never actually said this!)
- The French revolution scene
Check out this fast-talking American who’ll give you a 10 minute crash course on the French Revolution.
Watch Les Miserables which is set against the backdrop of revolutionary France.
This clip about Versailles by Rick Steves will transport you back in time.
I absolutely love the ‘Who Was?‘ 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! A Horrible Time in Paris You’d Rather Avoid
We weren’t able to get ahold of this book but 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 by Carolly Erickson. I’ve just started reading this book after seeing it mentioned on this blog . This fictional diary is set when Marie-Antoinette was twelve years of age, right until her death. So far I’m finding it to be a very easy and enjoyable read.
Websites & Blogs
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.
This homeschooler provides a list of books on the French Revolution and gives an idea of age appropriateness.
For teenagers (or yourself), dig even deeper and check out these online courses:
Are there any other resources you would recommend?