Art Nouveau

Serpentine lines, arabesques, forms inspired by nature ... Art nouveau sweeps through Paris from 1900

Enseigne art nouveau du métro parisien © OTCP - David Lefranc

From the 1880s to 1914 an international artistic current developed under the name of Art Nouveau or Modern Style. 1900 marked the height of this art which characterised the Belle Epoque. Forms inspired by Nature (plants, animals...), curves and arabesques all distinguished this original, colourful and richly decorated architecture. It proliferated in stone, metal, glass or ceramic.

The buildings of the Rue La Fontaine, close to the former village of Passy, or the “noodle” style of the metro entrances designed by Hector Guimard, are as famous as the floral decors of the magnificent stained glass in the department stores. The expansion of Art Nouveau was accompanied by technical prowess linked to advances in metal construction: the Eiffel Tower sprang up to the height of 300 metres in 1889, and the Alexandre III Bridge straddled the Seine with a single arch in 1900.