Arts and Entertainment French press said that Mr Hollande's affair with Julie Gayet started more than two years ago

Gayet has earned a César nomination for Best Supporting Actress

Book review: Mitterrand. A Study in Ambiguity, By Philip Short

A penetrating study of a president that captures his extravagant complexities

Marine Le Pen comments last night on her party's success

Local election victory for Marine Le Pen's National Front raises fears on both left and right

Mainstream groups concerned that National Front could gain more regional council seats

All smiles: With the Bettencourt affair receding, Mr Sarkozy is ready to plan his return

Can Nicolas Sarkozy stage another comeback? Court ruling clears way for former French president to reclaim his throne

Liberated by a ruling last week that spares him the humiliation of a trial for the alleged fleecing of the ailing nonagenarian billionairess Liliane Bettencourt, Nicolas Sarkozy has been "energised", say his friends. Thus reinvigorated, he intends to rise from the political grave next year and begin a three-year campaign to reclaim the Elysée Palace.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front

Call the National Front far right and we’ll sue you, warns Le Pen

As she surges to new heights in opinion polls, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen has threatened to sue journalists who describe her party as far right.

Hollande driven by personal conviction on Syria

One side of François Hollande explains the other

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault addresses the French National Assembly on Syria

Syria crisis: Deep conflicts surface as French debate military strike

Government accused of hitching itself to an American ‘adventure’ without UN backing

Hollande: 'Reading the interview only increased my determination'

Syria crisis: Assad interview has increased my determination, says France President François Hollande

French President infuriated by 'threats' from Syrian leader - but he may follow Obama's example and wait for a vote

Francois Hollande comes under pressure to allow French Syria vote

President François Hollande came under pressure yesterday to follow Barack Obama and David Cameron and allow a French parliamentary vote on punitive air strikes on Syria.

France ready to play substantial role in Syria air strikes

President François Hollande of France has reaffirmed his intention to play a substantial role in air strikes on Syria – but is under increasing pressure to put the issue to parliament.

President François Hollande: 'The chemical massacre in Damascus cannot go unpunished'

From ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ to America's new best friends? François Hollande talks tough on Syria after UK backs down

France is ready to join the United States in a retaliatory strike against Syria even though Britain has pulled out, President François Hollande said today.

French opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion was widely derided in the US, such as at this Boston rally that year

Syria crisis: France is no longer shoulder-to-shoulder with US

‘Cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ again risk American wrath as François Hollande steps back from air strikes

The EU commissioner Olli Rehn said higher taxes would destroy growth

Tax rises in France have reached 'fatal' level, warns EU official

Olli Rehn urges cuts to spending as François  Hollande seeks to reduce deficit

'Terror's advocate' Jacques Vergès dies at aged 88

Jacques Vergès, the flamboyant lawyer who earned the nickname the “Terror's advocate” for his defence of former Nazis, terrorist bombers and notorious dictators and their aides, has died of a heart attack aged 88.

Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks at a dinner for the far right Traditional Britain group

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg gave speech to far-right group Traditional Britain at a dinner

Tory MP addressed group whose Facebook page has called for Doreen Lawrence to be returned to her 'natural homelands' and said Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom is a 'legend' for his 'Bongo Bongo Land' comments

Paul Renaudat, the mayor of Chavannes in the department of Cher in central France, originally told police and a local radio station that he planned to commit suicide if the families refused to leave the village.

'I will kill myself if another caravan arrives in Chavannes': Mayor of French village threatens suicide if 35 traveller families refuse to leave the area

Paul Renaudat's hunting rifles confiscated following comments over traveller dispute

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform