French philo cafes

In 1992, French philosopher Marc Sautet gathered with several friends to debate various issues at what is now Café des Phares at the Place de la Bastille in Paris. His belief was that ordinary citizens should be free to discuss ideas using the Socratic method of asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and thus come to a solution. This idea evolved into the Café Philosophique , or café philo, where people could gather to do just that.

If you’re interested in joining a Parisian café debate in English, head to the Café de Flore in the Latin Quarter, 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays. Based on the original Café des Phares gatherings (still held in French from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays), the English version has participants debate under the guidance of a moderator. You can join in or just listen — the only requirement is that you buy a drink.

For details, go to

Communist statues

History buffs visiting Budapest, Hungary, won’t want to miss the Budapest Memento Park on the outskirts of the city. The grounds, also known as Szobor Park, are home to 42 of the giant communist statues that populated the city during the Cold War. Instead of destroying them after the fall of communism and the rise of the nation’s government in 1989, the city placed them in the park. Visitors today can view these towering figures of workers, heroes and party leaders such as Lenin, Marx and Engels, all of whom played roles in developing and maintaining the communist philosophy and culture.

The site’s museum is open 10 a.m. to sunset. Tickets cost 1,500 Hungarian forints (about $6.50). Guided tours are available at 1,200 Hungarian forints per person.

Buses leave daily at 11 a.m. from the Deák tér bus terminal in Budapest’s city center. The price of 4,500 Hungarian forints includes a return bus fare and entrance to the museum.

For details, go to; there is an English version.

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