Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) is generally regarded as the greatest French short story writer. His novel Bel Ami is about the career of an unscrupulous journalist. Maupassant suffered from syphilis from his early twenties, and in 1892 tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat. He was committed to the celebrated private asylum of Dr Esprit Blanche at Passy, where he died on July 6, 1893.
"In the vast lobby that leads into the circular promenade, where the gaudily dressed pack of whores prowls about, mingling with the dark-suited crowd of men, a group of women waited for the new arrivals in front of one of the three counters, over which three raddled and rouged vendors of drink and of love were presiding. Behind them, tall mirrors reflected their backs and the faces of the passers-by."
Guy de Maupassant, Bel Ami (1885), trans Margaret Mauldon, Oxford Univerity Press, 2001