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Paris in the late 1800s, the so-called Belle Epoque. Fortunes are made and lost overnight as colonialism, backed by imperial might, opens up high-risk financial opportunities for those with the means to take advantage of them. The working class might be worse off than ever, pushed ever further out into dusty suburbs by ruthless Haussmannian embourgeoisement, but for those in the middle and upper classes who can drown their memories of the Prussian Siege of Paris and the semaine sanglante in champagne, life has never been better. And when keeping up appearances and wounded national pride gets to be too much, the temptations of the Demimonde are just around the corner.