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 Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).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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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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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