FRANCE: Maxim's Is Back

Heut' geh' ich zu Maxim,

Dort bin ich sehr intim.*

So sang The Merry Widow's dashing Prince Danilo. Less vocal (for reasons of state), Britain's gamesome King Edward VII and gamey King Leopold II of the Belgians were just as intime chez Maxim. To many another princely sprig, millionaire, archduke and demimondaine of the fey '90s, Maxim's in Paris' rue Royale was the most elegant bistro in Europe, the gaudiest symbol of the mauve decadence. Its décor was the most glittery, its women the most ravishing, its top-drawer scandals the most toothsome. No Manhattan...

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