The basic assumption of this essay is that a city can be compared with other cities, but first and foremost, it should be compared with itself, with its own past and with its present ideals and realities, its sources and outcomes. The era roughly extending between 1880 and 1914, usually known in Europe as la Belle Epoque, was a turning point in the development of the city of Bucharest. During this time Romania’s capital city turned into a modern, Western European type of city in many respects. Histories and monographs account for its rapid progress, its many urban improvements. So do several foreign travelers’ accounts. Many of these texts testify to the plurality of lifestyles and world views in turn-of-the-century Bucharest.