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'

The greatest wine sale ever known

The Tour d'Argent's cellar is one of the best in the world, but it is running out of space. So the Parisien restaurant has decided to sell off 18,000 bottles – and there are bargains to be had.

Chirac banishes 'dejected' dog

Anti-depressants fail to tame former president’s pet

Art in Paris: Big Sister is watching you

This weekend hundreds of immense pairs of eyes will be gazing at the river boats on the Seine. They belong to heroic women from the world's worst trouble spots. John Lichfield meets the artist

Australians rediscover the 'million dollar mermaid'

Annette Kellerman's design gave women the freedom to swim – but not without controversy. Kathy Marks reports

Trail Of The Unexpected: Tracing Paris's fortified past

Today the inhabitants of Paris begin their annual holiday exodus, happily surrendering the city to foreign tourists. It was different 800 years ago, when King Philippe Auguste was off to the Crusades: he was so concerned that the likes of Richard the Lionheart might visit the capital during his absence that he ordered the construction of a stone wall nearly five miles long, close to 30ft high and 10ft thick at its base, with watch towers every 70 yards or so.

Landmark Parisian bookshop to close

Another Paris landmark is no more. Brentano’s, an American bookshop whose customers have ranged from Ernest Hemingway to Johnny Hallyday, has been forced to close by exploding rental demands.

Corot to Monet, National Gallery, London

The world's most famous school of painting has a political history that is satisfyingly explained in this clever show

Travel By Numbers: Normandy

As D-Day is commemorated, Ben Ross counts the ways this French region can provide inspiration for the visitor

Brighton Festival, Various venues, Brighton<br>Giustino, Trinity College of Music, London

In Brighton, 'Giovanna d'Arco' was performed next to Anish Kapoor's sculpture of dismemberment

Elizabeth Nash: Journey into the underworld

Madrid Notebook

Books of the Year: An all-star line-up of writers give their verdict on 2008's best

It's cold outside, so warm up with our red-hot recommendations of the year's best reads. Our critics and favourite writers pick the fiction and non-fiction that will stand the test of time

Monet's green fields are no more

A sprawling industrial town stands where 'Les Coquelicots' once grew. John Lichfield returns to the scenes that inspired Monet &ndash; and finds a country rediscovering its past

French Socialists at war after leadership vote

Royal vows to challenge result as Delors' daughter claims victory by just 42 votes in poll of 130,000 members

Phyllis Thom: Nurse imprisoned by the Japanese during the Second World War

As a nurse taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Second World War, Phyllis Thom witnessed a Japanese soldier grind his foot on her patient's wound. She herself, when seriously ill, had to line up twice a day out of doors for the "tenko", or roll call. She noted: "Every hour a Japanese guard tramped through our block and seemed to take delight in hitting our shins with the butt of his rifle."

Paris mayor to challenge Royal for leadership of divided Socialist Party

The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has revealed that he will run for the leadership of the French Socialist Party, setting the stage for a showdown with former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home