Travel
 

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

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

A penetrating study of a president that captures his extravagant complexities

The Louvre has 460,000 works of art

Risk of flooding forces the Louvre to move World’s biggest 'hidden' art collection

200,000 paintings, sculptures and other artefacts from museum’s cellars will now be stored in Pas de Calais

The work, by Jacques-Louis David, shows Napoleon in his National Guard uniform

Sold for £15,000 – but Napoleon portrait by Jacques-Louis David is worth £2m

Gravy-stained painting thought to be a copy has now been confirmed as master painter’s work

Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris feels fury of disenchanted customers as more than 5,000 visitors sign petition demanding higher standards

Theme park enthusiast starts petition after being shocked by closed attractions and 're-heated food in one of the most expensive restaurants'

Vases and human bones lie in the family grave of Lisa Gherardini, in Florenceís Santissima Annunziata basilica

Researchers open Florence tomb in search for identity of the real Mona Lisa

Scientists hope to match DNA from a skeleton to reveal identity of woman thought to be Leonardo da Vinci's muse

The Mona Lisa is arguably the most recognisable painting in the world

Small is beautiful: The molecular art that’s made a mini-masterpiece of the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is one of the most reproduced images of all time, but art fans may struggle to make out that enigmatic smile on one unusual replica.

Old Master class: Vermeer's 'Milkmaid'

Simon Calder: A new encounter with Old Masters

The man who pays his way

Inferno author Dan Brown

Dan Brown: Inferno is is not an activist book, I don't have a solution to overpopulation

The author on what is expected to be this year's publishing sensation

Visitors look at

Art review: Birth of a Museum, Manarat al-Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

Stalled by downturns, delays and even the threat of a boycott by artists over the conditions of the building workers, Abu Dhabi’s masterplan to convert a vast sandy swathe of Saadiyat Island into a world-beating “cultural quarter” has sometimes looked like a desert mirage.

Zao in his Paris studio in 2003; a gallerist said his paintings ‘were not simply abstract – they expressed thoughts and feelings’

Zao Wou-Ki: Artist whose work combined Oriental landscapes and Western abstraction

Zao Wou-Ki was an artist whose work unites Oriental landscapes with the influences of abstraction and of the Paris School. His signature, which combines a first name in Chinese characters and the Zao family name in Western script, symbolises this synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures in his paintings.

A view from across the lake

Sexuality and religion 'not off-limits' at Abu Dhabi Louvre

The curator of the Abu Dhabi branch of the Louvre says no artistic subjects are off limits as the museum builds its collection for the planned 2015 opening.

James Ashton: Abu Dhabi is trying hard – maybe too hard – to be a new desert playground

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is stunning, but will the tourists come?

Mona Lisa (left)
Leonardo’s preferred medium was wood, not canvas which the Isleworth version is painted on. Art historian Martin Kemp said: 'The head, like all other copies, does not capture the profound elusiveness of the original'
The 'Isleworth' Mona Lisa (right)
The Mona Lisa Foundation's researchers claim they can identify Leonardo's brush strokes. Art historian Stanley Feldman said: 'It strikes us that in order for that to be so accurate... only the person who did one did the other.'

Isleworth Mona Lisa 'younger' than the Louvre's treasured Leonardo da Vinci

New tests on a painting billed as the original version of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci's 15th century portrait, have produced fresh proof that it is the work of the Italian master, a Swiss-based art foundation claims.

The mystery of AE911 Cryptic code scrawled on Delacroix’s vandalised masterpiece

Woman held after scrawling message in marker pen on work that inspired Les Misérables

Delacroix Liberty painting defaced by woman with marker pen at Louvre exhibition

A woman was seized by security guards after using marker pen to deface one of the most famous paintings by Eugene Delacroix at an exhibition in northern France.

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Independent Travel
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