Paris Without a Budget
Me and my girlfriend will be going to Paris France for the first time in our lives this coming august and being that Paris is renowned for it's culinary achievement I really want to splurge on as fine a dinner as Paris has to offer at least once in my stay there.
The style of cuisine doesn't particularly matter to me so I'm open to any suggestions that can be offered.
There is no one best restaurant in Paris. My preference for contemporary food are Pierre Gagnaire and Arpege; for more traditional: L'Ambrosie and Alain Ducasse.
I too would agree with Taillevent! However, why did you choose coming to Paris in August? It's kind of one of the worst times to come if you want to experience Paris at it's best.
I lived in Paris for a year and went to all the top-rated restaurants. The most memorable meal I had was the tasting menu at Goumard-Prunier. At the time I had Patricia Wells' guide to eating in Paris. I suppose now it is rather outdated, but it might still be worth it to take a look at it.
It is going to be quite simple. As others have said lots of Paris restaurants are closed in August (as are many local shops - butchers, bakers, real estate agents, dry cleaners etc). So you simply need to identify the few that are open and see if you can get in.
My suggestion is to look at those in hotels - Le Cinq (Four Seasons). Alain Ducasse (Plaza Athenee) , Le Atelier Robochon (Hotel Pont Royal) and others. As they are part of big international hotels there is more chance they will stay open for August (but it is not guaranteed)
Le Grand Vefour, Arpege, Taillivent, Gagnaire, L'Ambroise etc are al stand alone and are guaranteed to be closed.
I suspect many people don't really appreciate what this actually means. Paris empties as those that can, head away for a month by the sea or in the country, thus most businesses that rely on local custom simply close as there are no customers to serve. Many many restaurants, bars and cafes simply shut down. Thus it is wise to double check all plans. The good news is there is a lot less traffic - the bad news is they do lots of road works as the streets are quite. However, not certain I would say it is a bad time to come to Paris - it is simply different.