Paris architecture of the Belle Époque
The architecture of Paris created during the Belle Époque, between 1871 and the beginning of the First World War in 1914, was notable for its variety of different styles, from neo-Byzantine and neo-Gothic to classicism, Art Nouveau, and art deco. It was also known for its lavish decoration and its imaginative use of both new and traditional materials, including iron, plate glass, colored tile and reinforced concrete. Notable buildings and structures of the period include the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Gare de Lyon, the Bon Marché department store, and the entries of the stations of the Paris Metro designed by Hector Guimard.The architectural style of the Belle Époque often borrowed elements of historical styles, ranging from the neo-Moorish Palais du Trocadéro, to the neo-Renaissance style of the new Hôtel de Ville, to the exuberant reinvention of French 17th and 18th century classicism in the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, the new building of the Sorbonne. The new railroad stations, office buildings and department stores often had classical facades which concealed resolutely modern interiors, built with iron frames, winding staircases, and large glass domes and skylights made possible by the new engineering techniques and materials of the period.The Art Nouveau became the most famous style of the Belle Époque, particularly associated with the Paris Metro station entrances designed by Hector Guimard, and with a handful of other buildings, including Guimard's Castel Béranger (1898) at 14 rue La Fontaine, in the 16th arrondissement, and the ceramic-sculpture covered house by architect Jules Lavirotte at 29 Avenue Rapp (7th arrondissement). The enthusiasm for Art Nouveau did not last long; in 1904 the Guimard Metro entrance at Place de l'Opera it was replaced by a more classical entrance. Beginning in 1912, all the Guimard metro entrances were replaced with functional entrances without decoration.The most famous church of the period was the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, built over the entire span of the Belle Epoque, between 1874 and 1913, but not consecrated until 1919. It was modeled after Romanesque and Byzantine cathedrals of the early middle ages. The first church in Paris to be constructed of reinforced concrete was Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, at 19 rue des Abbesses at the foot of Montmartre. The architect was Anatole de Baudot, a student of Viollet-le-Duc. The nature of the revolution was not evident, because Baudot faced the concrete with brick and ceramic tiles in a colorful Art nouveau style, with stained glass windows in the same style.A new style, Art Deco, appeared at the end of the Belle Époque and replaced the Art Nouveau as the dominant architectural style in the 1920s. Usually built of reinforced concrete in rectangular forms, crisp straight lines, with sculptural detail applied to the outside rather than as part of the structure, it drew from classical models and stressed functionality. The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (1913), designed by Auguste Perret, was the first Paris building in the new style. Other innovative buildings in the new style were built by Henri Sauvage, using reinforced concrete covered with ceramic tile and step-like structures to create terraces. By the 1920s, it had become the dominant style in Paris.