Belle Époque architecture, Nice


The second in a series of three

Western culture renews itself from time to time and the Belle Époque is an example of this.  Mme. Pompidour, the lover of Louis XV, found late-Baroque or Rococo excessive and ordered her architects to go to Italy to seek a clean line.  They returned with Neo-classicism which became prominent from the mid-18th-century.  It has had echoes deep into the 20th-century.  It was the starkness of this idiom that brought back the decorative element in buildings after 100 years.

This church, St Jouan Baptiste, built in the 19th-century is what the Belle Époque reacted against.  The name Jouan is the Nice patois for Jean.

Musée Massena was completed in 1899 and is included in discussions about the Belle Époque, but as Michel Steve says it is not the best example.  The rounded colonnade inches toward the style and the quirky use of the double column above the colonnade is a distant homage to Palladio, the Renaissance architect.  Architects have fun.

Hotel Westminster, Promenade des Anglais

Hotel West-End, Promenade des Anglais

Hotel Le Royal, Promenade des Anglais

These three hotels on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice were built in the Belle Époque and exhibit what Michel Steve calls the “hotel aesthetic”:  pay tribute to the idiom, but pack as many rooms as you can into the framework.  If you look at their names, it is not difficult to guess who their target market was at the time.

© Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2019



Michel Steve : L’Architecture Belle Époque à Nice.  Demaistre, Nice. 1995.

Wikipedia Belle Époque



My photographs







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