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 Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
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The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?