The following notes are courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque was a period in the European history that is conventionally dated as starting in 1871 and ending when World War I began in 1914. Occurring during the era of the French Third Republic (beginning 1870), it was a period characterized by optimism, peace at home and in Europe, new technology and scientific discoveries. The peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish, and many masterpieces of literature, music, theatre, 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
Those who were able to benefit from the prosperity of the era were drawn towards new forms of light entertainment during the Belle Époque, and the Parisian bourgeoisie, or the successful industrialists called nouveau-riches, became increasingly influenced by the habits and fads of the city's elite social class, known popularly as Tout-Paris ("all of Paris", or "everyone in Paris"). The Casino de Paris opened in 1890. For Paris's less affluent public, entertainment was provided by cabarets,bistros and music halls.
The Moulin Rouge cabaret is a Paris landmark still open for business today. The Folies Bergère was another landmark venue. Burlesque performance styles were more mainstream in Belle Époque Paris than in more staid cities of Europe and America. Liane de Pougy, dancer, socialite and courtesan, was well known in Paris as a headline performer at top cabarets. Belle Époque dancers such as La Goulue and Jane Avril were Paris celebrities, who modelled for Toulouse-Lautrec's iconic poster art. The Can-can dance was a popular 19th-century cabaret style that appears in Toulouse-Lautrec's posters from the era.
The Eiffel Tower, built to serve as the grand entrance to the 1889 World's Fair held in Paris, became the accustomed symbol of the city, to its inhabitants and to visitors from around the world. Paris hosted another successful World's Fair in 1900, the Exposition Universelle (1900). Paris had been profoundly changed by the French Second Empire reforms to the city's architecture and public amenities. Haussmann's renovation of Paris changed its housing, street layouts, and green spaces.
Cheap coal and cheap labour contributed to the cult of the orchid and made possible the perfection of fruits grown under glass, as the apparatus of state dinners extended to the upper classes. Exotic feathers and furs were more prominently featured in fashion than ever before, as haute couture was invented in Paris, the center of the Belle Époque, where fashion began to move in a yearly cycle. In Paris, restaurants such as Maxim's Paris achieved a new splendour and cachet as places for the rich to parade. Maxim's Paris was arguably the city's most exclusive restaurant. Bohemian lifestyles gained a different glamour, pursued in the cabarets of Montmartre.
French cuisine continued to climb in the esteem of European gourmets during the Belle Époque. The word "ritzy" was invented during this era, referring to the posh atmosphere and clientele of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. The head chef and co-owner of the Ritz, Auguste Escoffier, was the pre-eminent French chef during the Belle Époque. Escoffier modernized French haute cuisine, also doing much work to spread its reputation abroad with business projects in London in addition to Paris. Champagne was perfected during the Belle Époque.
The Belle Époque was an era of great scientific and technological advancement in Europe and the world in general. Inventions of the Second Industrial Revolution that became generally common in this era include the perfection of lightly sprung, noiseless carriages in a multitude of new fashionable forms, which were superseded towards the end of the era by the automobile, which was for its first decade a luxurious experiment for the well-heeled, French automobile manufacturers such as Peugeot were already pioneers in automobile manufacturing. Edouard Michelin invented removable pneumatic tires for bicycles and automobiles in the 1890s. The scooter and moped are also Belle Époque inventions.
A number of French inventors patented products with a lasting impact on modern society. After the telephone joined the telegraph as a vehicle for rapid communication, French inventor Édouard Belin developed the Belinograph, or Wirephoto, to transmit photos by telephone. The electric light began to supersede gas lighting, and neon lights were invented in France.
France was a leader of early cinema technology. The cinématographe was invented in France by Léon Bouly and put to use by Auguste and Louis Lumière, brothers who held the first film screenings in the world. The Lumière brothers made many other innovations in cinematography. It was during this era that the motion pictures were developed, though these did not become common until after World War I.
Although the aeroplane remained a fascinating experiment, France was a leader in aviation. France established the world's first national air force in 1910. Two French inventors, Louis Breguet and Paul Cornu, made independent experiments with the first flying helicopters in 1907.
Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity in 1896 while working with phosphorescent materials. His work confirmed and explained earlier observations regarding uranium salts by Abel Niepce de Saint-Victor in 1857.
It was during this era that biologists and physicians finally came to understand the germ theory of disease, and the field of bacteriology was established. Louis Pasteur was perhaps the most famous scientist in France during this time. Pasteur developed pasteurisation and a rabies vaccine. Mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré made important contributions to pure and applied mathematics, and also published books for the general public on mathematical and scientific subjects. Marie Skłodowska-Curie worked in France, winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911. Physicist Gabriel Lippmann invented integral imaging, still in use today.
In 1890, Vincent van Gogh died. It was during the 1890s that his paintings achieved the admiration that had eluded them during Van Gogh's life, first among other artists, then gradually among the public. Reactions against the ideals of the Impressionists characterized visual arts in Paris during the Belle Époque. Among the post-Impressionist movements in Paris were the Nabis, the Salon de la Rose + Croix, the Symbolist movement (in music as well as visual art), Fauvism, and early Modernism. Between 1900 and 1914, Expressionism took hold of many artists in Paris and Vienna. Early works of Cubismand Abstraction were exhibited. Foreign influences were being strongly felt in Paris as well. The official art school in Paris, the École des Beaux-Arts, held an exhibition of Japanese printmaking that changed approaches to graphic design, particular posters and book illustration (Aubrey Beardsley was influenced by a similar exhibit when he visited Paris during the 1890s). Exhibits of African tribal art also captured the imagination of Parisian artists at the turn of the 20th century.
Art Nouveau is the most popularly recognized art movement to emerge from the period. This largely decorative style (Jugendstil in central Europe), characterized by its curvilinear forms, became prominent from the mid-1890s and dominated progressive design throughout much of Europe. Its use in public art in Paris, such as the Paris Métro stations, has made it synonymous with the city.
Prominent artists in Paris during the Belle Époque included post-Impressionists such as Odilon Redon, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Émile Bernard, Henri Rousseau, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (whose reputation improved substantially after his death), and a young Pablo Picasso. More modern forms in sculpture also began to dominate as in the works of paris-native Auguste Rodin.
Although Impressionism in painting began well before the Belle Époque, it had initially been met with scepticism if not outright scorn by a public accustomed to the realist and representational art approved by the Academy. In 1890, Monet started his series Haystacks. Impressionism, which had been considered the artistic avant-garde in the 1860s, did not gain widespread acceptance until after World War I. The academic painting style, associated with the Academy of Art in Paris, remained the most respected style among the public in Paris.
Haussmann's renovation of Paris was a vast public works program commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III and directed by the prefect of the Seine,Georges-Eugène Haussmann between 1853 and 1870. It included the demolition of crowded and unhealthy medieval neighbourhoods, the building of wide avenues, parks and squares, the annexation of the suburbs surrounding Paris, and the construction of new sewers, fountains and aqueducts. Haussmann's work met with fierce opposition, and he was finally dismissed by Napoleon III in 1870; but work on his projects continued until 1927. The street plan and distinctive appearance of the center of Paris today is largely the result of Haussmann's renovation
The Dreyfus affair (French: l'affaire Dreyfus, pronounced: [la.fɛʁ dʁɛ.fys]) was a political scandal that divided France from its beginning in 1894 until it was finally resolved in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice, and remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice, where a major role was played by the press and public opinion.
The scandal began in December 1894, with the treason conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian and Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly communicating French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was imprisoned on Devil's Island in French Guiana, where he would spend nearly five years.
Evidence came to light in 1896—primarily through an investigation instigated by Georges Picquart, head of counter-espionage—identifying a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real culprit. After high-ranking military officials suppressed the new evidence, a military court unanimously acquitted Esterhazy after a trial lasting only two days. The Army then accused Dreyfus of additional charges based on falsified documents. Word of the military court's framing of Dreyfus and of an attempted cover-up began to spread, chiefly owing to J'accuse, a vehement open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898 by famed writer Émile Zola. Activists put pressure on the government to reopen the case.
In 1899, Dreyfus was returned to France for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus (now called "Dreyfusards"), such as Anatole France, Henri Poincaré and Georges Clemenceau, and those who condemned him (the anti-Dreyfusards), such as Édouard Drumont, the director and publisher of the antisemitic newspaper La Libre Parole. The new trial resulted in another conviction and a 10-year sentence but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free.
Eventually all the accusations against Alfred Dreyfus were demonstrated to be baseless. In 1906 Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. He served during the whole of World War I ending his service with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He died in 1935.
The Affair from 1894 to 1906 divided France deeply and lastingly into two opposing camps: the pro-Army, mostly Catholic "anti-Dreyfusards" and the anticlerical, pro-republican Dreyfusards. It embittered French politics and encouraged radicalization.
The conviction was a miscarriage of justice based upon faulty espionage and blatant antisemitism, as well as a hatred of the German Empire following itsannexation of Alsace and part of Lorraine in 1871.
The Paris Commune was a revolutionary socialist government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. Following the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the French Second Empire swiftly collapsed. In its stead rose a Third Republic at war with Prussia, who subjected Paris to a brutal four-month siege. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, during this time France's capital was primarily defended not by the regular French Army, but by the often politicized and radical troops of National Guard. In February 1871 Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.
The killing of two French army generals by soldiers of the Commune's National Guard and the refusal of the Commune to accept the authority of the French government led to its harsh suppression by the regular French Army in "La semaine sanglante" ("The Bloody Week") beginning on 21 May 1871. Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune had significant influence on the ideas of Karl Marx, who described it as an example of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".
Moulin Rouge,( French for "Red Mill") is a cabaret in Paris, France.
The house was co-founded in 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller, who also owned the Paris Olympia. Close to Montmartre in the Paris district of Pigalleon Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement, it is marked by the red windmill on its roof. The closest métro station is Blanche.
Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. Today, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. The club's decor still contains much of the romance of fin de siècle France