You guys have been so helpful w/ my entry into the LC world that I thought I'd provide an update, as well as pick your brains w/ one last question (see last paragraph).
Went to the outlet store in Gilroy, CA and spent a good deal of time there "test driving." Kinda cool to see the whole collection in a palette of colors and every size imaginable. It was a little overwhelming and made me understand why most people who go this route have more than just one. To sum up:
1. The 7.25 round was not too big or too heavy in the least. Ruled out the 5.5 round.
2. The 6.5 oval was a nice size and looked more elegant than the round; better oven to table aesthetics. Sales person assured even heating due to the base material and design. Other benefit is that since it's more narrow than the round, one can fit other items in oven at same time.
3. I'm sure I'd be happy w/ either but have decided on the 7.25 round. I tend towards "classic" and the larger round fits the bill for me. We have plenty of smaller pots and skillets for everyday use.
4. I will say that I was taken by a more shallow but wide surface area round oven known as the "risotto pot." Of course, it's not just for risotto, but it's really too shallow to be as multi-purpose as the French oven.
5. The buffet pots also looked great. The 3.5 round buffet w/ lid looked like a great everyday pot for the two of us. Will hold off for now...
6. Didn't buy from the store since I can get better deal online. For those interested though, the LC outlets will have a 25% off sale on every LC item in their store starting July 1st (don't know exact end date but it's for the holiday). Another great deal is on Amazon right now for ONLY the red color (see link). The 7.25 round is currently $105, factoring in a $25 special discount and free shipping. Amazing deal if that color appeals.
Finally, my question: The sales lady said that she NEVER heats her pans on high heat on the stove top since LC pots are much more heat-conducive than other pans. She also said that she will reduce the oven temp. of any recipe (sometimes by 100 deg) when using an LC pot in the oven. Never heard of this before. Do you LC owners follow similar practices, or was she selling me bunk? I didn't trust her cooking advice that much. Thanks for any info.