A short walk up from Place Émile Goudeau, along the Rue Ravignan, there stands a pale pink hotel with many windows. Rain has pounded Montmartre for the past week, and the narrow cobblestone streets—lined with many bistros and cafés—are awash with mud. Forgotten laundry, engorged with rain, beats apathetically against a window pane; in the distance, subway engines whine and churn. From here the Sacré Coeur is not far away. The looming basilica, gaudy even by Parisian standards, sits on a hill unto itself, accessible by a modern glass elevator that contrasts oddly with its surroundings. Here it takes work to separate beauty from sadness. The smell of fresh coffee, wafting from hidden bistros, is threatened by smoke; pleasant chatter is nearly engulfed by the howl of a stray dog.
Shaurya Taran. The Absurd. JAMA. 2017;318(3):239–240. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.5955