Paris was not made overnight and the capital has gone through many time periods intertwining to create this incredibly charming heritage we can now admire. Among the highlights Paris have been through, the Belle Epoque is undoubtedly one of the most iconic ones. From the late 19th century to the dawn of the First World War, it has been marked by all kinds of progress and remains in the collective memory, a festive historical era.
But what remains of the Paris from the Belle Epoque? Remnants of this part of the history of the capital city can be seen here and there in the City of Lights… And you often walk by them without seeing them.
Among the monuments marking the beginning of the Belle Poque stand those from World’s Fairs. The departure of this walk could be the capital’s very symbol: the Eiffel Tower. Closely followed by the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. Not far from there, the Pont Alexandre III is also a wonderful testimony of the Belle Epoque. But there is one remnant you often see, the typical Guimard aedicules showing the entrance of some Parisian metro stations.
Named after their architect Hector Guimard – one of the flag bearers of Art Nouveau – they are found in different shapes, but can be easily recognized thanks to their green color and their floral pattern. In the heart of the oldest museum in town, the Musée Carnavalet, also discover the famous Fouquet jewel store designed by Alfons Mucha, which has been entirely rebuilt. When exiting the Abbesses metro station, the Saint Jean de Montmartre Church is also an Art Nouveau jewel, so is the Synagogue in rue Pavée, in the Marais area.
But there are not only monuments telling about the Belle Epoque. Several indulging locations take us to the festive atmosphere of this historic period. Among the main places are Maxim's, close to La Madeleine, and Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon. Add to them a few bouillon restaurants: Bouillon Racine, Bouillon Julien, Bouillon Pharamond, Bouillon Vagenende and the Brasserie Mollard. Some stores also display an Art Nouveau décor such as the Técla jewelry store at 2 rue de la Paix, La Samaritaine, and Debauve et Gallais chocolate store, in Paris 7th arrondissement.
There are also many buildings inspired by the Art Nouveau movement. One of the most iconic ones is undoubtedly the Lavirotte building at 29 avenue Rapp in Paris 7th arrondissement. The Hôtel Lutetia is also a symbol of the Belle Epoque. In the 16th arrondissement, many buildings and private mansions can be admired: Castel Béranger, Atelier Carpeaux, Les Chardons, as well as the Guimard, Mezzara, Jassedé and Pauilhac hotels are part of the Belle Epoque masterpieces.