Paris in the Belle Époque was a period in the history of the city between the years 1871 to 1914, from the beginning of the Third French Republic until the First World War. It saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Paris Métro, the completion of the Paris Opera, and the beginning of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre. Three lavish "universal expositions" in 1878, 1889, and 1900 brought millions of visitors to Paris to sample the latest innovations in commerce, art, and technology. Paris was the scene of the first public projection of a motion picture, and the birthplace of the Ballets Russes, Impressionism, and Modern Art.
The expression Belle Époque ("beautiful era") came into use after the First World War; it was a nostalgic term for what seemed a simpler time of optimism, elegance, and progress.