A Taste of French Philosphy

Now we thought this was going to be like any other day we blog about. We’d head off to some activity or museum or site to be seen, that we had chosen mostly randomly out of the book, and then try to fit in as many other things in the same area or on the journey way back – organised, efficient, but of course lacking somewhat in spontaneity. And sure to form that is what we did, taking the opportunity on the way home to visit some antique car dealers in Knightsbridge drooling excessively, gobble up Krispy Creme doughnuts from Harrods in Hyde Park, marvel at the beautiful statue of Achilles at Hyde Park Corner, wander past Grosvenor Chapel, its lovely gardens and Mayfair’s Library next door (Claire’s local), discover a hidden castle in Mayfair and finish by taking some snaps of the Bard on Carnaby Street and a giant plug (got to love such random art).

Challenges 673 , 400, 454, 325, 199, 459 completed 110/1000.

Grosvenor Chapel

Krispy Creme in Harrods



Hidden Castle 1


Of course some of these things are mildly interesting – the fact that high class Harrods even allows a Krispy Creme on its premises, that the statute of Achilles is made from smelted down cannons from World War II, or that the giant plug has been a feature of Soho for 2 years and yet I had never noticed it before. But, but its all kind of touristy, site seeing for site seeing sake if you like. London is like capital city packed with stuff to do – but its always just a taster – nothing is all engaging, all enveloping. I think it comes from the lack of community that young professionals in London often suffer. With no roots, and life so fragmented, time between meeting your closest friends will be measured in months not days. That natural sense of belonging and social networking we all need is often lacking – and hence traversing London for sites and sounds feels like you’re a skimming stone and not an innate part of the environment.

So it was with great pleasure and relish that this overcast Saturday morning we went to a Café Philosophique at the Institute Francais. Now one might think that sitting in a room talking philosophy with people that can be bothered to get up far too early on a Saturday, might be a bit dry – but you would be pleasantly surprised. A regular event, alternating between English and French discussions every week, this is by far our best completed challenge yet – and the only one so far I am determined to pursue further. Not only was there a great mix of people – from race, gender, age, nationality and political viewpoint – but it was also a really friendly, down to earth discussion, one where complicated ideas were discussed without excessive wordiness or reference to complicated concepts or jargon. It is advertised as an event for all sectors of society, and I think it achieves that. Even if you were poorly educated, if you were willing to try to use your brain a bit, then this is a stimulating and not intimidating activity. The fact that you can sit there and just listen, while being encouraged to pipe up and speak if you want to say something, with the chair not allowing regular speakers to dominate, gives a great balance to the time.

I could go on and on about how great a time we had, and comment on the minor issues that one can always find, but I will do neither. I will just finish by saying that it was fantastic to spend time in thoughtful company – a type of society I desire to be involved with much more.

Challenge 219, completed 111/1000.



~ by lethaniol on 15/03/2010.

2 Responses to “A Taste of French Philosphy”

  1. Only one ‘F; in professionals.

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