Belle Époque

A period in European history, in the decades before the First World War, characterized by artistic and cultural refinement.

Occurring during the era of the French Third Republic (beginning 1870), it was a period characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity and technological, scientific and cultural innovations. In the climate of the period, especially in Paris, the arts flourished. Many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition. The Belle Époque was named, in retrospect, when it began to be considered a “golden age” in contrast to the horrors of World War I.


Von Rumpel limps through the rooms with their faded white moldings and ancient kerosene lamps and embroidered curtains and belle époque mirrors and ships in glass bottles and push-button electrical switches, all dead.

Definition from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License (via Wordnik); further verbiage from Wikipedia; image from

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