Caves of Lascaux were found in 1940. Located in southwestern France, the caves were discovered by a young man named Marcel Ravidat. The caves contain about 2,000 paintings, which can be organized into three groups: animals, humans, and abstract creations. The caves were opened to tourists in 1948, but light, changes in air temperature, and carbon dioxide exhaled by humans took a toll on the works of art. The real caves were closed in 1963, and a simulation of the caves was opened nearby. Mold continues to be a problem. Children can visit the official (and amazing) website at: Caves of Lascaux.
Joe W. Kittinger became the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon. He left Caribou, Maine, on September 14, 1984, and landed near Capbreton, France, on September 17, 1984. He broke his ankle when he was thrown from the gondola during the stormy landing. The 3,535-mile trip also established a new record for solo distance.
Hot air balloon with animal passengers was flown for the first time in 1783. Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier launched their globe aerostatique in France. The duck, sheep, and rooster all survived the ten-minute trip! Children could read the amazing Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman. The book earned a 2006 Caldecott Honor Award.
Mali celebrates Independence Day. It became free from France in 1960. Slightly less than twice the size of Texas, Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa. Gold mining is one source of income for the country. Almost sixteen million people live there, and Bamako is the capital.
Guinea celebrates Independence Day. France relinquished control in 1958. Located in western Africa, the land was the site of ancient caravan routes. The country is slightly bigger than the state of Utah, and Conakry is the capital. About eleven million people live in Guinea.
Battle of Trafalgar occurred in 1805. The British navy defeated a combined French and Spanish navy off the coast of Spain. France’s naval strength diminished, and Britain’s navy became the strongest in the world.
Parachute jump was made for the first time in 1797. André-Jacques Garnerin dropped from a hot air balloon 3,200 feet above the city of Paris. His parachute resembled an umbrella. On the ascent, the parachute was closed. At the designated height, he cut the balloon away, opened the parachute, and landed with the gondola.
Louvre opened in Paris, France, in 1793. Probably one of its most famous paintings is the Mona Lisa. The Louvre galleries measure eight miles in total, and the museum owns over one million pieces of art. I. M. Pei designed the Louvre Pyramid, completed in 1989. The Louvre website is filled with great online tours and activities: Louvre.
Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates Independence Day. This Asian country broke from French rule in 1953. Cambodia is slightly smaller than the state of Oklahoma. Over 14 million people live in this relatively flat land covered with forests. Exports include rubber, silk, clothing, and shoes. The capital is Phnom Penh. Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia’s major archaeological sites. The Cambodian flag features a drawing of Angkor Wat. Children can see photos of Angkor Wat at the UNESCO site: Angkor Wat.
Monaco celebrates its national holiday. Prince Albert II was enthroned on November 19, 2005. Monaco’s government is that of a constitutional monarchy. Located between France and the Mediterranean Sea, it has only 1.21 square miles of area. It is the second smallest country in the world. More than 30,000 people live in Monaco. It has high literacy rates and life expectancy rates, but it has a negative population growth rate. Most of the country’s revenue comes from tourism and gambling.