“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.”― Simone de Beauvoir
She was an inspiring lady that Simone de Beauvoir; the prolific French writer and philosopher who epitomised Parisian café society in the 20th century along with her circle of friends. So inspiring I thought, as I was writing the MessyNessy Literary Guide to Paris, that I’ve decided we should take a page out of her book and do as Simone (and Sartres) would do…
Now, I’m no philosopher, but I am an expert in Parisian café dwelling, wine-drinking and, who doesn’t enjoy a good conversation? So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Café Philosophique (or Café-Philo for short) with Messy Nessy in Paris.
A café what, you ask? Well it’s a thing, or at least, it once was. In the 1990s, there were about 100 “cafés-philo” operating throughout France, a grassroots concept that regularly brought people together in cafés where they could discuss and listen to ideas (philosophical or not) while relaxing with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The concept was founded by a French teacher and writer, Marc Sautet, who sadly died in 1998, but not before he had inspired hundreds of cafés-philos around the world. Sadly, today, there are less than 4 operating within the city of Paris as far as I know of.
So I thought, why not us? Why not try it? We could start small in Paris, at my local café on the Left Bank– the one where amazing characters like this hang out:
You don’t have to know anything about philosophy to join – like I said, I’m certainly not a philosopher – but I could try my hand at starting (and moderating) a conversation. We could even begin with the question: Aren’t we all philosophers?!
Any and all topics brought to the café table will be welcome and considered, to be discussed in the spirit of tolerance and openness. Participants won’t be required to come with topic questions, but it will be encouraged. Alternatively, if you’re trying to overcome a creative block, facing a scary life decision or generally lacking inspiration, this can also just be a relaxing moment for you at the end of the day to listen to some good chat over wine and cheese.
If you’re in town and you’d like to join me (Nessy ↑) for our Café Philo in Paris (Left Bank) on May 21st at 7pm, a quick RSVP through the Keyholder Concierge would be much appreciated so I can get an idea for the turnout. The MessyNessy Café Philo will be open to Vault Keyholders*, who are also welcome to invite guests along.
See you at the café! ☕
(*Keyholders: check your inbox the day before for location details & info or get in touch via the Vault Concierge).