Is Paris burning? Maybe. The City of Light's restaurant scene is certainly hot. Few other places have a comparable concentration of talented, highly trained chefs and demanding eaters inspiring one another. These days many of the top-end culinary artistes preside over Paris's palace hotel kitchens such as Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée and Jean-Francois Piège at the Crillon. Meanwhile, a younger generation led by Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir du Relais is busy forging cuisine gastronomique and traditional bistro fare into the lively, enlightened style insiders call "bistronomie." It's served at reasonable prices in casual settings all over Paris, from the Left Bank to the Bastille neighborhood. Of course, many classic Paris restaurants, including Le Grand Véfour, are still going strong without sacrificing their culinary standards. On the other hand, if metropolitan bustle and a landmark interior are more important to you than fine dining, head to the historic La Coupole or Brasserie Lipp. Wherever you go, a newfound respect for diners is, literally, in the air: A ban on smoking in cafés, restaurants, and bars went into effect in 2008.