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'

French take fury over beef on to streets

BSE crisis: Police and demonstrators clash in wave of anti-British protests over collapse of cattle prices as Florence summit seeks to end row

Letter: Legal minefield in rural France

Sir: I read with interest Gerard Gilbert's article on "the French weekend retreat" (4 May) as I know the Seine Maritime region of Normandy well and can well imagine the pleasures of having a weekend bolt-hole in the area. My Monday mornings frequently produce clients hoping to buy in France and as a solicitor I am forced to put my enthusiasm for Calvados to one side and to discuss the best way to structure the property purchase, particularly if, as with Gilbert's case, co-ownership with non-family members is envisaged.

Take me to the river, and be quick

How long does it take to get by train from the British capital to the banks of the River Seine in Paris? A mere three hours, according to the short-break specialist Travelscene. "In just three hours from London Waterloo, you can be cruising down the Seine," its brochure claims. So we tried this out.

TRAVEL: Going for broke

If pounds 1,000 doesn't take you far enough, perhaps pounds 10,000 woul d? Simon Calder gets you there

Chirac firm as France stands still

The French government was standing firm last night as it braced for a new and possibly decisive day of national protest today against its proposed welfare reforms.

France brought to a standstill by strikes

Social-security protest: 'People power' surprises Juppe as thousands march and many air, sea and rail links are paralysed

PARIS AUTHORITIES BAN GREENPEACE PROTEST PETITION DEMONSTRATION

Greenpeace planned to deliver a protest petition containing 3,175,000 signatures to the Elysee today, via a 500-person human chain between the Place de la Concorde and the presidential palace, but city officials banned the demonstration. The authorities also halted a protest flotilla of boats on the Seine.

CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT: Balancing acts ... hedgehogs not invited ... find Archer!

MY readers will know that the Captain is an unflinching, indomitable fighter against injustice. Falsely besmirched and canarded reputations are a speciality. This is the column that, in its time, has doughtily defended Melvyn Bragg, Canadians and dentists. So I was particularly upset that a highly important survey into attitudes among accountants received such a small amount of publicity last week. The survey, conducted by Hays Accountancy Personnel, revealed that accountants like to wear Armani designer suits and drive soft-top sports cars. Not only that, but the person accountants would most like to be for a week is super-spy James Bond, while 78 per cent of accountants regard themselves as "fitting consorts" for Elizabeth Hurley. That's more like it! For too long, accountants have been an easy target for the lazy, so-called "humorists" whose natural habitat is the saloon bar or the kitchen at parties where they parrot old television scripts. I will confidently wager that not one of them knows that: 1) the film star Dana Andrews was an accountant; 2) Jeremy Hanley taught accountancy, and soon may be doing so again; 3) there is a windsurfing instructor in Greece called Shiny-Happy John Edwards who used to be an accountant; 4) Warren Barton, once of Wimbledon, now of Newcastle, Britain's most expensive defender, is an accountant; 5) John Redwood's father, Edwina Currie's brother-in-law, Barbara Cartland's grandson and the father of the winner of the national Scrabble championships in1993: all accountants. More balance, please.

Celebrate Saturday with the Indep endent and Virgin Radio Win a night in Paris

Saturdays are precious, a time of independence free from the pressures of work and the daily grind. The time must be used wisely and only the most cherished pastimes are pursued, whether it's guilt-free lazing or painting garden gnomes.

30,000 protest over Moroccan's death

FROM TONY BARBER

Diamonds are an artist's best friend CULTURE VULTURES

The best new art in Paris is shown in a jeweller's gallery

A leap into the blue

On 26 January 1962 two men stood on the banks of the Seine. One held in his hand a cash receipt for $250 - in flames. The other, the artist Yves Klein, was scattering into the river sheets of gold leaf. "Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility", in which the collector paid in gold for nothing but space, was Klein's latest artwork in a career which is charted in a new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. Klein's insouciant disrespect for the art establishment was rivalled only by that of Marcel Du champ. To the general public, he was the Damien Hirst of his day, notorious for his "anthopometries" in which naked women smeared themselves in paint and rolled their bodies over a large floor canvas. Invariably the paint was blue and it is this colour, the most spiritual of the spectrum, traditionally associated with the virgin's robe, that provides the clue to Klein's intentions. Klein's obsession with the "meaning" of blue and the idea of nothingness is explored in an intoxicating melange of monochro me canvases and reliefs, painted sponges, anthopometries, "fire paintings" and photo-documentary evidence of performance pieces. "Come with me into the void", Klein asked his public in 1957, and the invitation still applies. The real void, though, was le ft byhis untimely death from a heart attack in June 1962, at the age of 34. Romantic, visionary, Klein is a legendary hero of modern art. This fascinating expose of his artistic odyssey is not to be missed.

Dutch exodus as floods rage on

only now is there serious discussion of preventing such devastating flo ods in the future ture

Four die as flooding threatens Paris

More than a week of heavy rain has caused widespread flooding across northern France, from Brittany and Normandy to the Alsace and as far south as Paris and Nantes.

War recalled on tourist beaches

SAILING along the Cote d'Azur, 33 vessels from the navies of the Second World War Allies yesterday opened ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Allied landings in Provence, 10 weeks after those celebrating the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
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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
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
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