Travel

Mons is embracing the future as it prepares for its role as next year’s European Capital of Culture, but it’s also steeped in intriguing history. Philip Sweeney explores its two sides

French forward Franck Ribery (R) speaks with midfielder Samir Nasri at the French national football team training base in Clairefontaine

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri admits he didn't deserve France call-up - and promises to behave from now on

The former Arsenal player lashed out during Euro 2012

Delphine Boël plans to start fresh proceedings against Albert

Belgian king’s ‘daughter’ drops one legal fight, but plans another

British-educated artist, Delphine Boël, drops legal case demanding DNA samples from two of Albert II's acknowledged children

Portfolio: Belgian photographer Eva Vermandel kicks against the modern culture of disposability

'I dislike how photography mostly gets used to describe the tangible," says Eva Vermandel of the Instagrammisation of her medium. "Too often bodies of work can easily be described in one simple sentence. From art, I expect something different: I want it to hit me right in the gut and plant seeds into my brain."

Gerard Depardieu has insisted it was not French tax rates but his globe-trotting soul that brought him a mile over the border to Belgium

I still love France, says Gerard Depardieu as he hosts Belgian housewarming

There was singing, steak and suckling pig at the weekend as the French actor, Gerard Depardieu, threw a house-warming barbecue in his new home town of Néchin, insisting it was not French tax rates but his globe-trotting soul that brought him a mile over the border to Belgium.

Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines in pre-season action for Everton

Transfer news: Manchester United 'preparing' a £35m return offer for Everton pair Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini

United's original offer of £28m was slammed as 'derisory and insulting' by David Moyes' former club

Ricky van Wolfswinkel celevrates scoring Norwich's equaliser

Norwich City 2 Everton 2 match report: Ricky van Wolfswinkel scores on his debut to give Canaries a share of the points after Ross Barkley stunner

Steven Whittaker had put Norwich ahead but goals from Barkley and Seamus Coleman had looked to give Roberto Martinez a winning start before van Wolfswinkel header

Marouane Fellaini of Everton celebrates his goal during

Transfer news: Manchester United to accept defeat over Cesc Fabregas by making £23m offer for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini

David Moyes looks set to raid his former club for the Belgian international as well as maintaining his interest in defender Leighton Baines

Oscar winner: Spaniard Garcia turned down more lucrative offers because he is 'fascinated' by English football

Oscar Garcia: Even Pep Guardiola had to start somewhere

Brighton's new head coach tells Nick Szczepanik he is ready for big break and, after missile attack, nothing will faze him

Tottenham have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Belgium winger Nacer Chadli

Nacer Chadli wings way to Tottenham after £7m deal is agreed with FC Twente

Tottenham have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Belgium winger Nacer Chadli.

Belgium's new King: Albert II abdicates after 20-year reign to make way for son Philippe

King Philippe becomes the news monarch after his father announced plans to abdicate less than three weeks ago

King Albert II and Queen Paola in Liège yesterday

The Belgian King’s brief? Unite a divided nation

The new Belgian monarch is a former fighter pilot – and he will have a scrap on his hands trying to maintain the unity of this hybrid country

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (C) raises the trophy as Spain's national football team players celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup football

World Cup and European Championships to remain free-to-air after Uefa and Fifa lose appeals

Football's governing bodies had wanted to be able to sell matches to the highest bidders

Postcard from... Brussels

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joan Iyiola in A Season in the Congo

Theatre review: A Season in the Congo, Young Vic, London

It's six years since we last saw him on stage giving an award-winning portrayal of Othello at the Donmar Warehouse. Now Chiwetel Ejiofor is back and in magnificent form as Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the newly independent Congo, in Joe Wright's production of this 1966 play by Aime Cesaire about the fraught political struggles that led to Lumumba's CIA-endorsed assassination after barely seven months of power. 

Postcard from... Brussels

Britain isn’t the only country enjoying a welcome spell of balmy weather at the moment. In Belgium, too, the sun has come out after one of the most miserable springs on record, and people spent the weekend picking up some much-needed rays in gardens, parks and on beaches.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?