Carla Bruni sues over nude image

The French First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has started a legal action against a clothing company which has produced a shopping bag carrying an image of her posing naked. Mme Bruni-Sarkozy is demanding a ban on sales of the bag and €125,000 (£110,000) in damages that will be given to charity, her lawyers say. The bag is produced by Pardon!, a clothing chain based in Réunion, an island in the Indian Ocean which is an overseas département of France. The bag shows a nude image of the First Lady that was taken in 1993, accompanied by a speech bubble reading, "My bloke should've bought me clothes from Pardon". It can be bought for €3 or is free with a purchase over €5. "This bag is an attack on Mme Bruni-Sarkozy's image without her consent and [is produced] purely for commercial reasons," her lawyer, Maître Iqbal Akhoun, said yesterday. But the clothing company defended their use of the Michel Comte photo, saying Mme Bruni-Sarkozy was "a woman in the public eye". The case will be examined on Monday.

Bruni embraces role as AIDS ambassador

The French First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, today said that she would work to protect mothers and children against the HIV virus as a global ambassador for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Je t'aime (again): The French love affair with Serge Gainsbourg

As a new warts-and-all exhibition demonstrates, France has rediscovered its affection for Serge Gainsbourg, the anti-hero who came up with the sexiest pop record ever. John Lichfield reports

Album: Franck/Fauré, String Quartets (Hyperion)

Any list of famous Belgians ought to include the 19th-century composer César Franck, though he later became a pillar of the French musical establishment, revered as a rigorous teacher.

Cherie Blair: 'You can't please people who don't really know you'

The Deborah Ross Interview: As a mother, a barrister, a QC, a judge, a campaigner and the wife of a Prime Minister, Cherie Blair has proved herself in many different ways. So why have so many people still got it in for her?

Nash Ensemble/Tortelier, Wigmore Hall, London

Since the death of Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux has been widely regarded as the Grand Old Man of contemporary French music, and this Wigmore Hall celebration culminated in the presentation of the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal to the still-active 92-year-old composer.

Album: Camille, Music Hole (Charisma)

The French pop experimentalist's latest won't make new converts but if the vocalised rhythm-generating of 'Le Fil' made you smile, it's this trick which gets moved centre-stage here, with traditional instruments playing only a minimal role.

Album: Sébastien Tellier, Sexuality (Lucky Number)

Sebastien Tellier has the endorsement of Francopop aristocracy: he's signed to Air's label and his fourth album is produced by Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. Tellier operates on an interface where the staccato chops of Calvin Harris meet the gloss of Zoot Woman, and combines electronica with singer-songwriter introspection to create some cool, classy textures. That said, "Pomme", with its background sex sounds, is a not wholly successful attempt to update Gainsbourg's "Je T'aime". Overall, 'Sexuality' feels like being shown around a mothballed Eighties show home: pristine yet dated, and therefore oddly poignant.

BBC SO/Muraro/Cambreling, Barbican, London

This concert, planned and directed by the distinguished French conductor Sylvain Cambreling, purported to marry together 200 years of French music, from Rameau to Messiaen - the somewhat tenuous link being that the Rameau was being heard in an intervening, 19th-century arrangement.

For hot jazz, leave the cold tap running

Yesterday I was talking about the plethora of gypsy jazz events coming up in the next few weeks, and how alive and well is the tradition of making music in the style of Django Reinhardt is, the great gypsy guitarist.

World music - c'est chic

The musical melting-pot that is contemporary France could teach us Brits a thing or two, says Robin Denselow

Album: Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Compton Cricket Club

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