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S E N L I S An Ancient Walled City in France. A Contrasting Locality Study for KS2 Children. Prev. Page Contents Next Page. CONTENT S. Senlis The Journey to Senlis Transport Living in Senlis French School Life Historical Aspects of Senlis Facts about Senlis Learning Objectives.

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s e n l i s an ancient walled city in france

S E N L I SAn Ancient Walled City in France

A Contrasting Locality Study for KS2 Children

Prev. PageContentsNext Page

content s
  • Senlis
  • The Journey to Senlis
  • Transport
  • Living in Senlis
  • French School Life
  • Historical Aspects of Senlis
  • Facts about Senlis
  • Learning Objectives

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Senlis is an ancient walled royal town 40 kilometres north of Paris, in Oise. It is situated on a hill, with Roman walls and many old and new houses, large and small.

Senlis is north of Paris, the capital of France

Senlis is a maze of many cobbled streets with traditional stone buildings. These include a magnificent Gothic Cathedral, a Royal Palace and a variety of interesting shops.

Cobbled Streets are hard to cycle on!

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the journey to senlis

There are lots of ways to travel from the United Kingdom to Senlis. Can you think of some advantages and disadvantages of each form of transport?

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travel by plane

If you want to travel by air, you will depart from an international airport near your home. There are two flights a day departing from most airports. Most passenger planes travel at about 450 mph. The destination of your plane will be Charles de Gaulle/Roissy Paris. You will then travel on to Senlis.

Use the internet or travel brochures to find out your route and the cost so that you can calculate how long it will take and how much it will cost.

You will fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport

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rail eurostar and the tunnel

You can travel all the way to France on the train or in your car without having to cross the water. The Channel Tunnel opened in 1994 and lets cars & trains travel under the sea all the way to France. Cars have to drive onto specially adapted trains to go through the tunnel but you can also go on an ordinary train.

If you want to travel by rail the Eurostar departs from Waterloo, London or Ashford in Kent. It leaves hourly and takes 4 hours to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. From there you will travel by local train to the nearest station to Senlis. The Eurostar travels at about 180 mph.

The Gare du Nord is the biggest railway station in France

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road travel and the channel crossing

If you want to travel by road, you will go to a south coast port, probably Dover. You will cross the English Channel either by ferry or hydrofoil (a kind of very fast boat!) and then drive to Senlis using the French Autoroutes or other roads. There is a toll to use the Autoroutes. The speed limit in England is 110 km/h (70 mph) and on the Autoroute is 120 km/h (76 mph) for car. Coaches can only travel at 100 km/h (60 mph) in both countries. The French name for the English Channel is ‘La Manche’.

The Port of Dover is very large and very busy. A ferry can hold in the region of 650 cars.

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transport in and around senlis

There are many ways to travel around Senlis when you arrive. Here are just some of them.





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geographical features

Senlis is a medieval town built on an older Roman centre. It is built on a hilltop for defence. It has Roman walls with 28 towers. It is surrounded by forest and a river flows through it, which is a tributary of L’Oise. Many of the buildings are built using limestone dug out of local hillsides.

Senlis is now a modern working town. Outside the city walls lie the modern housing and flats and industrial estates.

Senlis is surrounded by Forest

One of Senlis many cobbled streets

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local services

Some of the features in Senlis are the same as those in the UK. Look at these pictures, describe their use and note the similarities and differences to those in the UK.

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leisure facilities

There are extensive leisure facilities in Senlis.

Cinema – Cinema Jeanne d’Arc has been completely renovated it has 250 seats, Dolby stereo and a 10m screen. It shows American and French films in the afternoons and evenings.

Velodrome – There is a velodrome in Senlis. The velodrome is a cycling racetrack with banked corners. Cycling is one of the most popular sports in France. There are many cycling clubs and the most famous cycling race in the world – the Tour de France.

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leisure facilities cont

Senlis has twolarge swimming pools. This indoor pool is located at the large leisure centre. There is an outdoor summer pool as well. It is called the Piscine d’Eté on the Rue St. Etienne.

There are four museums, all in ancient buildings. The Art museum is in the Espiscopal Palace. The Town Museum is in the l’Hôtel de Vemandois. There is also a Hunting Museum and The Spahis Museum, a military museum dedicated to the cavalry regiment called the Spahis.

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shopping in senlis

There are lots of different shops in Senlis. Here are just some of them. Click on the names to find out what they are called in French.

A Butchers Shop

A Bakers Shop

A Fishmongers

La Boucherie

La Boulangerie

La Poissonnerie

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shopping in senlis cont

A Pork Butchers

A Cake Shop

A Shoe Shop

La Charcuterie

La Pâtisserie

Magasin de chaussures

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a french market

The French have very large markets that sell all sorts of different things. Click on the English to learn the French for these items that you might find in a French market.




Pain (pronounced pan!)







Fruit (Pronounced frwee!)


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employment in senlis

There is a large industrial park on the outskirts of Senlis which provides many jobs. There are also lots of schools where many people work.

Senlis is surrounded by agricultural land and forests which provide farming jobs and land management.

Senlis has a large tourism industry with many hotels, restaurants and shops providing jobs for people such as waiters, shop assistants.

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school life in senlis

Children start school when they are 6 in France. They go to either a state or private school. Much of school life is the same as in the UK. Look at the photos on the following pages and see how you think they compare with schools in this country.

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school life in senlis18

What differences can you see between your school and this French school? What about the boards? Does the classroom look the same? How does your dining room compare?

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historical aspects of senlis
Historical Aspects of Senlis

Senlis is a town with a great deal of history. The first settlers in Senlis were Romans around 2000 years ago and there are many features around the town that show its Roman history. The origins of the Gallo Roman Wall can still be seen quite clearly.

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Senlis was built around the 12th Century although parts of it were added in the 13th & 14th century. Senlis Cathedral is famous for its many gargoyles.

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historical aspects of senlis cont
Historical Aspects of Senlis Cont.

No town could be better suited than Senlis to preserving the memory of the North African cavalry which, since 1830, has occupied a place of distinction in the French army. The Spahis regiment has been stationed in Senlis for thirty years. The Musée des Spahis which was formed in 1991 exibits a number of souvenirs showing its remarkable past.It houses trumpet oriflammes, military pennants and pieces of harness of Turkish origin. On the upper floors, uniforms (scarlet capes and jackets), personal souvenirs and lots of pictures recall a hundred years of cavalry life.

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facts about senlis


Senlis now has a population of about 17,192 people (1999 census). The first people came to live here over 2000 years ago as the site was on a hill and near a river.

The Romans occupied Senlis a few years before BC and named it Augustomagus. They built a wall 4 metres thick with 28 towers to protect the city.

It is a Royal city because all the French kings were elected here. Since the Romans the population of the city has grown, some people living inside the walls in old houses and others outside in more modern houses and flats.


There are 7 primary schools, 2 collèges, 2 Lycée (upper secondary schools – 14+), 4 private schools and 1 private college in Senlis.


Senlis has 5 churches including its cathedral.

Public Buildings

There are many other public buildings including 4 museums, the cinema, a library, a leisure centre and the town hall.

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learning objectives
  • Unit 1 – The Location and Journey to Senlis
  • Learning intentions:-
  • To locate Senlis in France
  • To locate Senlis in relation to the area in France
  • To plan the journey to Senlis
  • To develop pupils’ map and observational skills
  • Unit 2a– The Geographical Features
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To observe and compare the geographical features with our home area.
  • To develop pupils’ map skills
  • To identify and compare the main human and physical features of the place.
  • Unit 2b – Leisure Facilities
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To observe and compare leisure services with those in the UK
  • To locate places on a map.
  • Unit 3 – Services in Senlis
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To examine the services available in Senlis
    • 3a. Shops
    • 3b. French Market
    • 3c. Transport
    • 3d. Employment
  • Unit 4 – Facts about Senlis
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To analyse data
  • To draw conclusions and comparisons with the home area
  • Unit 5 – French School Life
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To be able to explain why places are like they are
  • To consider the historical development
  • To contrast and compare with the home area
  • Unit 6 – Historical Aspects of Senlis
  • Learning Intentions:-
  • To be able to explain why places are like they are
  • To consider the historical development
  • To contrast and compare with the home area
  • Unit 7 – Photo Album
  • A separate photo resource with pictures from Senlis and the surrounding area

There are two simple objectives, the first is to find out how people live in Senlis and the second is to compare this with our home area. http://www.ville-senlis.fr/

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s e n l i s an ancient walled city in france23
S E N L I SAn Ancient Walled City in France

Intellectual Content: Caroline Cranswick

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