Travel
 

The Big Six: from outdoor Jacuzzis and inky interiors to views of the Eiffel Tower

Leading article: Give the Shard time to settle into the cityscape

The opening last night of the Shard at London Bridge has prompted a fierce debate about whether a building of this size, and with this set of purposes and values, is really appropriate for London in 2012.

My Secret Life: Pierre Dukan, 70, diet guru

'I injected my friends and family'

Nicolas Sarkozy, pictured with wife Carla Bruni, preferred to travel by plane

Monsieur Normal flouts conventions to woo the public

François Hollande, the man who wooed the French with the promise to be a "normal" president, has decided to depart from rules and conventions in the name of normality.

<p>1. Norwich 100 – 27 May</p>
<p>£19.50, ind.pn/norwich100</p>
<p>You can choose between a 100-mile, 50-mile or 25-mile ride on this route, which skirts the Broads and winds its way through olde-worlde Norwich.</p>

The 10 Best cycling events

From the Dragon Ride in Wales to the Tour of County Tyrone, explore stunning scenery and get fit at the same time

Travel Agenda: World Ski and Snowboard festival; Palais de Tokyo; San Giorgio hotel

Tomorrow: The World Ski and Snowboard festival is under way in the Canadian resort of Whistler, with freelate-night music events, art and fashion exhibitions, and extreme sports bringing the season to a jubilant close until 22 April (wssf.com).

Leading article: The bell tolls for the bell toll

Charging visitors who want to climb the tower to see Big Ben had obvious appeal to pettifogging budget-cutters in these times of austerity. They admitted that the idea of making citizens pay to enter their own Parliament would be an affront to democracy, but the clock tower, they said, was separate, so a charge could be levied.

Battersea Power Station offered for sale

One of the UK's most striking buildings is to be offered for sale on the open market for the first time in its history.

Would you dare to look down on Blackpool?

Christopher Hirst marvels at the 'Skywalk' freshly installed at the top of the Tower

Police clash with souvenir sellers under Eiffel Tower

They are a familiar sight to visitors to the Eiffel Tower: souvenir sellers hawking knick-knacks ranging from plastic models of the famous structure to hats that double as umbrellas. But the police are not impressed, and following clashes with the vendors at the weekend, have vowed to crack down.

Ready To Wear: Shalimar was once the most revolutionary of all scents

The reinvention of classics.

DVD: The Lavender Hill Mob (U)

Ealing Studios' wholly delightful heist movie and (platonic) love story stars Alec Guinness as the meek bank clerk who, along with Stanley Holloway's souvenir maker, plans to steal £1m worth of gold bullion out of England in the shape of Eiffel Tower paperweights.

Top 10 films that destroyed Paris

From the Arc de Triomphe being crushed to the Eiffel Tower being struck with lightning or knocked over by a sandwich, here are the top ten films that feature Paris being destroyed.

The best time to visit Paris? When all the Parisians are on are holiday...

They are pushy, rude and tiresomely chic. And soon the city's inhabitants will all be heading for the beach or the countryside.

How to beat the queues at the Eiffel Tower

When the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, it was originally – like the London Eye – intended to be a temporary installation, the entrance to the Exposition Universalle in the French capital. Once the magnificently tapering structure was complete, it quickly became the biggest draw in Paris. Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there