A coffee-table book of devotions for gastronomic pilgrims, armchair and otherwise: glowing blurbs by Viard on 27 notable establishments, each accompanied by at least half a dozen Giles Peress color photographs of the premises and personnel. With only a couple of exceptions--the celebrated Alsatian Auberge de l'Ill and Bocuse's restaurant in Lyons--each entry also includes recipes for at least four representative dishes, each of which is formally photographed on the house's best china. Viard's encomiums may be modestly described as rapturous. Of GuÃ‰rard's Les PrÃ‰s d'EugÃ‰nie: ""the inventiveness of the cuisine daily creates a new aria with the fecundity and genius of a culinary Bach."" Of the ChÃ¢teau d'Artigny in the Touraine: ""the absolute comfort offered almost makes one believe for a fleeting moment that he is the lover of Marie de Bretagne, Duchesse de Montbazon and unfaithful wife of Hercule de Rohan, who lived here three centuries ago."" As for the recipes: they are the work of chefs, not home cooks, and they are written with a matter-of-fact brevity that makes no concessions to ordinary folk. For most of us, purely vicarious thrills.