Travel East meets west: the Bosphorus connects Istanbul’s two sides

'I loved the contrast in Istanbul – the call to prayer mixed with the European cafés'

Testicle-eating fish, the Pacu, found in Paris with fears it could be coming to the UK

Small piranha-like fish was found in European waters for the first time in August

Activists against same-sex marriage took to the streets in Paris

France: Huge gay marriage protest turns violent in Paris

About 400,000 traditionalists take to streets to oppose new law

Relief in Parliament contrasts with ugly street battles as right-wing protest turns violent after French gay marriage law clears last hurdle

Running battles developed after mobs turned on television crews and press photographers

Padlocks adorn the Pont des Arts in Paris

Valentine's Day: just don't say it with padlocks

Larry Ryan unpicks an odd trend

French fishermen pelt British boats with rocks and flares in a row over scallop fishing

British fishermen reported the attacks to the Marine Management Organisation, which said an estimated 40 French vessels and eight UK vessels were involved

Ile de la Jatte between Neuilly-sur -Seine and Levallois cities

Two little boys from a wealthy Paris suburb to meet once again

If you drive due west from Paris, heading for the skyscrapers of La Défense, you might not realise you have left the French capital. The Arc de Triomphe remains visible in your rear-view mirror. The broad avenue ahead of you is an extension of the Champs Elysées.

Traveller's Guide: Ile-de-France

France’s version of the Home Counties has a lot to offer – from the dramatic palace at Versailles to Disneyland Paris and a date with the Impressionists.

The best time to visit Paris? When all the Parisians are on are holiday...

They are pushy, rude and tiresomely chic. And soon the city's inhabitants will all be heading for the beach or the countryside.

How to beat the queues at the Eiffel Tower

When the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, it was originally – like the London Eye – intended to be a temporary installation, the entrance to the Exposition Universalle in the French capital. Once the magnificently tapering structure was complete, it quickly became the biggest draw in Paris. Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).

Business Diary: Shorting row is behind Wace now

This week's gala dinner organised by Arpad Busson, which raises so much money for his fabulous children's charity ARK, is also a shining example of how people can be rehabilitated.

Sarkozy sets date for his mega-canal but promises it won't touch war graves

France yesterday launched the most ambitious engineering project in Western Europe since the Channel tunnel, a scheme to link Paris to the North Sea by a canal as wide as a football pitch.

Paris in the springtime

Yes, now really is the best time to enjoy the French capital before the heat and the hordes of summer arrive. By Harriet O'Brien

Il tabarro/Gianni Schicchi, English Touring Opera, Hackney Empire

English Touring Opera are on the road again, and as their Puccini double-bill demonstrates, are on top form. The curtain rises on a rusty, dusty, smoky quayside by the Seine, as the small orchestra does a fine imitation of a large one to evoke gently rocking boats and the palpitations of suppressed love. Thus does ‘Il tabarro’ – ‘the cloak’ – embark on its doom-laden course.

Why Van Gogh is entering his brown period

Paints in the artist's most famous works are losing their lustre, writes Steve Connor

Step carefully as you walk on the wild side

An active holiday amid fabulous scenery will draw even more of us to emerging Montenegro this year. Andy McSmith reports
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us