For some language courses, a year in Paris is usual. But if you're reading Arabic, you have to travel a little further afield, as Rosie Collington found out

A Summer Guide To Europe's Theme Parks: No: 3 Futuroscope, France

Futuroscope is the brainchild of Senator Rene Manory who, in the mid-1980s, decided that his depressed agricultural region of the Vienne might be revived by the introduction of some major tourist attraction. The geometrical, steel and glass structures that make up the park stick out like an alien landing site on the flat fields north of Poitiers.

The giggling girls who momentarily turned me into a hellfire rabbi

An accomplished woman, who can find?" Cadences sound a bit stereotypically... how shall we say... Old Testamentish? An accomplished woman - oy gevalt! - who can find already? You're right. "An accomplished woman" blah blah is the first line of a poetical reflection on womanhood recited by the female equivalent of the bar mitzvah boy - the bat chayil girl - on her coming of age day.

Travel: Diving - Taking the plunge

Hamish McRae takes his family on a five-day course in the Red Sea to find out why diving is the fastest-growing activity holiday,

The wrong side of the tracks

The column Howard Jacobson has a thing about trains, a hate thing. Thomas the Tank-engine. Pah! But the Pesach Train is different, not least because it can derail whole families

Food: To the manna born

Claudia Roden How to transform a traditional Passover meal into an eclectic and symbolic feast. Photograph by Patrice de Villiers

Ethiopia starts port offensive

ETHIOPIAN FORCES unleashed a new offensive yesterday on the front near Assab Port, dashing hopes that the recent lull in fighting would encourage renewed diplomatic efforts this week.

Football: Outside Edge - Scam of sparkies riding Suzukis

SO LET'S see if I've got this straight, then - the theory of it at least. This guy from the Far East has got this betting syndicate with some mates. He places a bet in Jakarta, on the floodlights failing simultaneously at three English football grounds. His mates fly over to Heathrow. They hire 500cc Suzukis and whizz round the country cutting off the juice at the three grounds. He then pockets the winnings.

Racing: International classifications


Earliest church discovered in Red Sea port

ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE discovered the world's oldest known purpose- built church - and are predicting even older ones will be found in the future.

Cinema: The dumbest story ever told?

The Prince of Egypt (U)

New Films: The Prince Of Egypt


Film: The great white shark of Tinseltown

Jeffrey Katzenberg reckons his new Dreamworks animation, The Prince of Egypt, is an epic to rival De Mille's. But then Bible-bashing is a competitive sport in Hollywood.

Memento mori and hot cider

TIME PLAYS odd tricks with you at the Tate Gallery, when you pop in to inspect this year's shortlist for the Turner Prize. It's a tiny exhibition - four or five works each from four young artists - and will therefore take (quick mental arithmetic) 16-20 minutes of your busy schedule, max. So you go along and, 95 minutes later, you have to be thrown out, protesting, by the Gallery's pushy gauleiters.

Racing: Way win clue to Enrique

THE VICTORY of Way Of Light in yesterday's Grand Criterium at Longchamp, France's premier two-year-old contest, merely reinforced the notion that it will be next Saturday's Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket that will define Europe's champion two-year-old of 1998.
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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Day In a Page

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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'