Definition of belle époque in US English:

belle époque

noun

  • The period of settled and comfortable life preceding World War I.

    as modifier ‘a romantic, belle-époque replica of a Paris bistro’
    • ‘The former has gone down in history as the Great Depression of the nineteenth century, while the latter is known as the belle époque.’
    • ‘Indeed, in the general economic stagnation of the 1920s (production in many areas only returned to 1913 levels by 1926-27) the period prior to the war came to be looked on as a belle époque, which could never return.’
    • ‘This is a bizarre and hilarious film: a fascinating chapter in the secret history of cinema, the belle époque, and of sexual politics.’
    • ‘The leaflet shows photos of a palace the size of Corsica, immaculate formal gardens and a belle époque tearoom with one of the most beautiful sea views this side of the Seychelles.’
    • ‘Entering the small but grand lobby with its sweeping staircase and moving through to the belle époque palm court lounge is like travelling back in time to a more leisurely age.’
    • ‘The world economy of the belle époque presented a favourable external environment for growth.’
    • ‘The belle époque interior of the place was grand: mirrors, columns, chandeliers, furniture of polished mahogany.’
    • ‘In photographs, the hotel's belle-époque style looks like a mass of garish gold ribbons and bows, but the sky-high ceilings, graceful architectural lines and pastel colour schemes rescue the rooms from being oppressively opulent.’
    • ‘By comparison with the belle époque of 1890-1914, the intensity of contemporary global interdependence is considerably exaggerated.’
    • ‘Later generations, scarred by war, called this period a golden era, the belle époque.’
    • ‘Built in 1904, it is like entering a belle-époque time-warp, and its engine room is every schoolboy's dream come true.’
    • ‘She continued the theme to the end with her gold velvet belle époque bustier ribbed dress, combining the English theme and modern low-stress dressing with great aplomb.’
    • ‘The overall mood felt coquettish belle époque, complete with lovely dyed fox pom-poms perched side-high on the head.’
    • ‘The faded elegance of Nice, with its belle époque buildings and palm-lined boulevards provides a heady contrast with the in-your-face excesses of its inhabitants.’
    • ‘It was fantastically fashionable during the belle époque - and it still is, so you get a sense of what it was like in the past.’
    • ‘Steep-sided woods of spruce and silver birch, with belle époque mansions piled on top of each other, are squeezed along the narrow sides of the cascading Tepla river.’

Origin

French, ‘fine period’.

Pronunciation

belle époque

/ˌbel əˈpäk/