Karl asks, "How was the food in Paris?"
I had two decadent dining experiences in Paris: lunch at Taillevent and lunch at Jacques Cagna.
Taillevent was amazing but intimidating. We arrived ten minutes early and were seated in a holding area and served some kind of delicious cheese puffs and the best Gewürztraminer I've ever had. Unfortunately we only got one glass of it, as it was not sold by the bottle. We were then led into the dining room and proffered a amuse-bouche of gazpacho that had an odd dollop of something in it; it walked the line between intriguing and gross. We were then showered with seven courses of delicious French food: foie gras creme brulee, arugula ravioli, a fish course, a rather disturbing cross section of a lamb which reminded me of high school biology class, some fresh goat cheese that was a bit too heavy on the dill, a delightful strawberry gelatin and meringue dessert, and a chocolate dessert that made me curse my constitution. I ate everything, with the exception of what appeared to be a orange cherry tomato with a candy shell. There was an ancient man sitting next to us who ate alone, in total silence, and appeared to be a regular. He must be very rich and very lonely.
Jacques Cagna was much more informal (and I don't just say that because we were briefly greeted tableside by a friendly whippet) but also pleasant. Although they were very strict about requiring us to confirm the reservation, we had the entire place to ourselves. I had the foie gras ravioli with mushrooms, the smoked and roasted quail, which may be the finest bird I've ever tasted, and the Bourbon vanilla millefeuille. There was a very tasty blue with a easily remembered name on the cheese plate, but when we tasted it again the next day without the benefit of an entire bottle of wine, it was less exciting.
I don't know that I would go to either one again, but as a pair of special treats the restaurants were worthwhile.