News Valerie Trierweiler is reported to be heading for India

'She has only just come out of hospital - she should be resting' says source close to the president

Educating the Masses

www.bbc.co.uk/education/ modern

Wood is dead - long live shag pile

Flooring in the Nineties has been about parquet, stone and all things cold. But that's about to change. Felicity Cannell pays homage to the fitted carpet

Books: Catastrophe strikes the Cliveden Set

War and revolution drove the Anglo-American plutocracy off the rails.

Design: First-Class Deliveries No 2: Maison

OF ALL the myriad mail order catalogues, Maison, and its offspring Maisonbis (the mail order 1998/99 supplement), are among the most beguiling. Beautifully photographed and designed, the two catalogues are bulging with stylish home accessories eminently suitable for Christmas presents.

Le Pen ban exposes rift in far right

THE NATIONAL Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was banned from politics for one year by a French appeal court yesterday, halving his previous sentence but presenting him with a potentially explosive dilemma.

French right falling apart over EU poll

THE FRENCH National Front, the most powerful far-right party in western Europe, is being ravaged by the most destructive internal quarrel in its 26-year existence.

Internal feud devastates French right

THE FRENCH National Front, the most powerful far-right party in western Europe, is being ravaged by the most destructive internal quarrel in its 26-year existence.

Design: Reflections of all your desires

Mirrors were once thought to hold strange powers. Nowadays they're a miracle of design, a cure-all for lack of light and space. By Ros Byam Shaw

Books: Keeper of Hitler's crystal ball

HITLER'S PRIESTESS: Savitri Devi, The Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo- Nazism by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, New York University Press pounds 15.95

Guerlain, the master of perfume, shot by raiders

JEAN-PAUL GUERLAIN, one of the world's leading perfumers, was shot and wounded yesterday by a gang of masked raiders who pillaged his chateau west of Paris.

Property: Tubes that suck up your money, but not the damp

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE; A discredited technique for keeping walls dry is still being flogged by the building trade

Chirac clings to France's place in the Levant

Foreign policy, folly - or distraction from home? Robert Fisk on the French leader's visit to to Beirut

Polly puts the value on

CITY TALK

English Literature: Nice Blokes and Good Girls Behaving Slightly Naughtily

No passion, no pain: BritLit heroes Hornby Bloke and Fielding Woman have created the perfect infantile anti-heroes for a nation that prefers its emotions 2-D. Time to grow up, says Boyd Tonkin

Le Pen banned from public office

JEAN-MARIE LE PEN, the leader of the French far-right, was banned from public life for two years yesterday after being found guilty of riotous behaviour on the campaign trail last May.
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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
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
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