Bonjour et bienvenue en France! Hello, and welcome to France! Tonight we are going to explore one of my favorite countries in the world together, without leaving our own home.
France is one of the most popular destinations for American tourists, and it’s easy to see why. Paris, the cultural capital of Europe, makes a good starting point, but France also has amazing beaches and mountains, historic castles and villages, and some of the best food the world has to offer. So let’s go!
Parents: please keep in mind this is just an outline. Feel free to supplement this with French games, songs, food, or photos from your own travel. After all, the entire point is to get your children excited about travel, so anything that works is perfect!
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Let’s Explore France!
France is kind of shaped like a hexagon, which is why it sometimes has the nickname l’Hexagon. It has the English Channel to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. But what is there to see? Here are some highlights!
Parents: below is a map of France with a few locations added, and descriptions/photos of those below it. If you’ve been to France or are just parents of more curious children, feel free to add more. Some possibilities include the beaches of Normandy where the allies landed, Nice and the French Riviera, the castles of Burgundy, or the Alps.
Paris is France’s capital, largest city, and hub for pretty much everything. You can visit the Eiffel Tower (above), wander along the Seine with a croissant, or indulge in a beautiful museum like the Louvre (below). There is so much here to see, do, and eat!
Lyon is the food capital of France, where most of the best chefs got their starts. But it’s also a beautiful city surrounded by two rivers (above). For the best views, climb to Notre Dame de Fourvière (below), where you can see across the whole city and even to the Alps on a clear day.
Some people think Bordeaux is only for wine. They are wrong. It’s a beautiful old city with so many cafes it would be impossible to try them all (but we should try anyway)! It’s also an easy day trip from here to Arcachon, home of some of the best oysters in the world and Europe’s largest sand dune – which we can climb.
Is it an island or not? Well, it depends on what time of day you visit this beautiful village in northwestern France. During high tide, it’s an island, but when the tide goes out, you can walk across. How gorgeous is this?
Want to experience the beauty of southern France? Try Marseille! This vibrant port city is one of the most diverse in France, and you’ll love the sights, sounds, and smells. Marseille has beautiful beaches and an easily walkable center, plus is nestled at the base of Provence for an easy day trip to see the lavender fields (below).
Let’s Make a Casserole!
We’ve all had casserole, but did you know it’s actually French? The word casserole means a large, deep pot used for cooking. The French would use these pots to make a delicious dinner where everything was cooked together, and that’s what we do, too! What should we put in ours?
Parents: this is a great time for a lesson about food waste, as casserole (and the Provençal cassoulet) were dishes largely of cheap leftovers cooked together. You can use meat, vegetables, beans, rice, or pretty much anything you want in yours, but to be authentic, it just has to be cooked together in a single pot.
Dinner is better with some learning, isn’t it? So while we eat, here are some fun facts about France you may not know!
-Is potato pronounced “po-tay-to” or “po-tah-to”? In France, there is a special branch of the government that tells you exactly how each word is to be pronounced so there is no confusion.
-France produces nearly 1600 varieties of cheese, totaling nearly 2 million tons per year!
-In 2016, France moved forward to help citizens who don’t get enough food by making it illegal to throw away unsold food from shops and restaurants.
-French people get more sleep than most, averaging close to 9 hours per day.
-France has the most time zones in the world (12) thanks to its overseas departments, which are all treated as part of France, places like St. Martin in the Caribbean and Reunion Island off of Africa.
-Parents who work hard to raise good kids can be rewarded by a medal, the Medal of the French Family!
-France is the world’s most popular tourist destination, attracting more than 90 million visitors per year.
-In 1830, King Louis XIX was king for a mere 20 minutes, the shortest reign in history!
-French people love to eat snails, consuming more than 30,000 tons of escargots each year.
Let’s Have a Fashion Show!
France is known for being at the center of world fashion, so let’s have our own fashion show! Use anything from your closet, and accessorize with anything your parents will let you use. Remember, this is about creating your own unique style, like Pierre Cardin did in 2010 with the looks below.
France is such an incredible country. Don’t you agree? Thank you for visiting with me!
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