The “belle époque”, When France and Europe Flourished

The “belle époque”, When France and Europe Flourished

After years of imperial wars and power struggles, from 1871-1914 Europe experienced a flourishing era of progress. This historic moment coincided with the era of the Third French Republic and was a period characterized by optimism, peace in France and Europe, as well as scientific and technological discoveries.

The concept of "belle époque" or beautiful era emerges when the years before the two world wars are seen in France as a time of happiness and joy compared to the first 50 years of the twentieth century.

It was during the "belle époque" that the World Fair in Paris took place (in 1889) and the Eiffel Tower was erected, as the entrance for the fair. Around this time, Paris was considered the center of intellectual, scientific and medical development, taking the lead in Europe and worldwide as America was still recovering from the crisis of 1873.

The prosperity of this French era was reflected in important events as the evolution of the Peugeot family from the production and distribution of coffee and bicycles, to manufacturing cars, starting with a prototype in 1890. Also, this year marked a “before and after” for the global entertainment industry with the appearance of cinema, which was popularized by the Lumière brothers and the magnificent productions of Georges Méliès.

In painting, Modernism (Art Nouveau, in French) took over the trends and was considered the most popular movement during this period. This decorative style, characterized by curvilinear forms, became prominent since the mid-1890s and gradually dominated much of Europe. Its use in public art in Paris and its metro stations has made of it a synonymous of the city.

As for literature, realism and naturalism were dominant during the "belle époque", highlighting authors like Guy de Maupassant and Émile Zola. Realism subsequently evolved into modernism. Poetry was not far behind with the prominence of Symbolist writers such as Charles Baudelaire and the "enfant terrible", Arthur Rimbaud.

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