Life and Style Fatale attraction: Brigitte Bardot in her youth

As yet another book lauds women across the Channel, Gillian Orr looks at the truth behind Madame Parfaite: extreme dieting and fear of a pressured, fattist society

A Eurostar train arrives at Kings Cross St Pancras

Eurostar hits 10m passenger target... But the train arrives 15 years late

Channel Tunnel rail link hits 10m milestone coinciding with 20th anniversary

Travel agenda

From Berlin's boutique Bikini to winter walks and Posh Phuket

Eurostar stake likely to be bought by SNCF

Eurostar looks set to fall into the hands of the French as City analysts predict the Government’s stake in the Channel tunnel rail line will be snapped up by Paris-controlled SNCF.

Eurostar stake to be sold and nuclear power station to be built in new UK infrastructure spending plan

Plan includes sale of Eurostar stake and funding for a new nuclear plan

Deals of the week - European city breaks, Christmas in the Cotswolds, New Year in New York

Under £200... European city breaks by train

Cresta has a range of deals on January city breaks to Europe. Examples include Paris, where three nights at the Hotel Jardins de Montmartre from 13 January is £175pp; or Bruges, where the Ibis Brugge Centrum from 17 January is £169pp. Both include breakfast and Eurostar. crestaholidays.co.uk

In Bruges: indulge at the De Tuilerieen hotel

Deals of the week

Under £200... Celebrate New Year's Eve in style

BA has a range of deals on two-night breaks over New Year's Eve, departing from Heathrow. On 31 December, there's a stay at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin for £194pp. Or, hop across to Brussels, where a stay at the Floris Avenue Hotel on 30 December is £197pp. ba.com

Deals of the week - Swiss Alps, Dubai, Madeira

Less than £200... Eurostar still has seats left on its train service from London St Pancras and Ashford International to the French and Swiss Alps. The French service runs from 20 December to 12 April, the Swiss train from 21 December to 8 March, with returns from £149-£179. eurostar.com

Market forces: festive fair in Prague

5 ways to... Visit Christmas markets

Browse the food and craft stalls to stock up on holiday cheer this year

Eurostar in joint bid for East Coast Main Line

Rail route run by the Government since 2009 after National Express handed back the franchise mid-term

Travel agenda

From yoga in India and glass in Venice to augmented reality apps

The kit
Maui Jim's new sunglasses include the vintage-inspired Liana; activity-friendly Gulch, which can spring back to their original shape; and Kahului Harbor, designed for long days in the sun. From £180 (mauijim.com).
Eurotunnel charges a reservation fee that equates to around £14.15 (€16.60) per passenger

Eurotunnel must reduce excessive Channel Tunnel charges within two months, says European Commission

'Illegally' high charges mean tunnel runs 43 per cent under capacity while  inflating Eurostar ticket prices

Get me out of here - Cornwall, trains to Europe, Italian Lakes

Now... In June, the Bedruthan Hotel in Cornwall has a two-night stay for £175pp, based on two sharing. Located in Mawgan Porth, it offers boutique rooms, a spa with sea views and two restaurants. The deal includes breakfast and one picnic lunch. Bedruthan.com

Simon Calder: Changing trains à grande vitesse

The man who pays his way

Weekend work: Time to plant dahlias

What to do

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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living