Your comprehensive guide to CDG Paris Airport

Catering to the world’s entrepreneurs and innovators since its inception, CDG Paris Airport is a world-renowned destination for international travel. Here’s a comprehensive guide for finding your way around the Charles de Gaulle Airport and spending your time wisely.

Read on to discover the perks of stopping over at CDG Airport. Image credit: anyaberkut/iStock
Image credit: anyaberkut/iStock

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), with its weighty name and enormous size, is one of the most famous and busiest transport hubs not just on the continent, but across the world. Paris CDG Airport is responsible for the traffic of 70 million passengers every year. To put that in context, that’s more than the population of France. With a large proportion of all international flights in and out of the country coming through CDG Paris Airport, it is essentially both the first and last impression of the country for many travelers. With such expectation in mind, the airport has spent decades honing itself with customer experience in mind, gearing itself toward providing maximum levels of satisfaction for all those travelers passing through.

The airport is as much of an institution in France as London Heathrow is in the UK. Heathrow is also the only other airport on the continent which can rival CDG Paris Airport in the sheer scale of operations. Despite its size, Charles de Gaulle Airport’s attention to detail is well-known. Everything down to the most minute component has been designed to make sure the airport remains cutting edge. Perhaps the best example of this was the musical chime that preceded every PA announcement from the airport’s opening in the 70s to 2005. Nicknamed ‘Indicatif Roissy’, the chime was specially composed by Bernard Parmegiani and was so distinctive and synonyms with the airport that it went on to be used in many a Hollywood movie production.

If you’ve found yourself in CDG Paris Airport and have a few hours to kill in anticipation of your flight, there’s no shortage of ways to while away the time. We have taken a look at what Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) has to offer, with a particular emphasis on what it can offer the modern business traveler. If you’re hungry and looking for a bite to eat, there are some outstanding options on offer in Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Looking for a place where you and others can convene to discuss important business affairs? Not an issue in an airport that has been catering to the world’s entrepreneurs and innovators for decades since its existence. It’s this very experience and longevity that allows France’s primary travel hub to hone itself into one of the most customer and traveler-friendly airports in the world. Be sure to use this map to navigate yourself around the huge buildings when you next stop by.

What to eat in one of the world’s cuisine capitals

To say French food is world-renowned is probably somewhat of an understatement. While airport food is quite often maligned, individual airports have made massive efforts in recent years to provide an array of excellent dining options for travelers to choose from. Charles de Gaulle Airport is one such airport that has made the effort to mimic the city and country’s natural proclivity for producing magnificent cuisine. Whether you’re just hoping to grab a quick bite to eat, or are looking for a more formal dining experience for a large group of colleagues, you’ll find what you need here.

Start your morning with a buttery croissant. Image credit: Nikada/iStock
Start your morning with a buttery croissant. Image credit: Nikada/iStock

Michelin three-star chef Guy Martin, hailing from a south-western area of France famed more for its skiing than its food, has been in the restaurant business since the age of 17, working his way up from humble pizzaiolo (pizza baker) to one of the more recognized names in the industry. In 2015, he opened I Love Paris, located in Terminal 2E. With an emphasis on a suave and stylish ambience, it is perhaps no surprise the land that offers us haute couture and rich artistic culture also offers such a rich and sophisticated dining experience – in a public airport no less. The restaurant’s layout was designed by Iranian-born architect and designer India Mahdavi, who in 2016 received France’s highest cultural award, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. I Love Paris is ideal for those looking to sit and eat as a group to discuss matters of business, a formal environment that is also more informal than a boardroom or office space, and which gives you a cultured setting to engage in stimulating discussion.

The restaurant’s menu offers typically French fare but with the chef’s personal twists and flavor. A starter of (what else) caviar, with a flute of champagne from the champagne bar, is perhaps the most cultured preparation anyone can make for a flight. The champagne bar also offers sandwiches and light food if that is your preference. The main dining hall is where the real magic happens. Mouthwatering steak with béarnaise sauce would be an excellent choice, though roasted monkfish and fileted duck make equal claims for attention. Vegetarians need not worry, with heritage tomato dishes, a courgette broth, and wasabi parfait on offer.

Renovations to Terminal 1 more than a decade ago introduced a quirky newcomer to the restaurant scene of CDG Paris Airport. The interior of La Terrasse de Paris was created by French designer Philippe Starck, another designer of international renown. Perhaps we’re starting to notice a pattern when it comes to attention to detail among the airport’s most sophisticated restaurants and eateries. The large windows of the restaurant provide an airy and light ambience for guests, especially when combined with the enormous flower prints adorning the walls. The setting is a great ailment for travelers experiencing all the stress and hustle and bustle inherent of a major international airport. There are international dishes for those with a particular craving, though the restaurant (not surprisingly) specializes in an array of delectable French food and dishes.

Perhaps one of the hidden gems of La Terrasse de Paris’ menu is the barbecue option, with a varied selection of delicious meats to choose from. Spare ribs, sausages, and burgers, all flavored with the in-house barbeque sauce, might be just what you’re after if you’ve been in Paris for a while and have over-saturated yourself with the rich French cuisine. There’s a striking and flavourful selection of salads for the vegetarians and vegans among us. For those craving one last go at some traditionally prepared, expertly crafted French food, though, La Terrasse is there for you, with some of the finest food of any Paris airport.

Getting some rest before your departing flight

Get some rest in-between flights. Image credit: jacoblund/iStock
Get some rest in-between flights. Image credit: jacoblund/iStock

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is host to a great many international passengers who may just be stopping in the city for a few hours or maybe a single night. If that’s the case for you, you’ll be wanting to find a solution for accommodation that is comfortable, stylish, and (above all) practical. Fortunately, there’s a multitude of fantastic hotels situated at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), meaning you can avoid the journey to and from your flight through the congested traffic of suburban Paris. To make extra sure you make your flight in time, book a Blacklane airport transfer for Charles de Gaulle Airport to and from your CDG airport hotel.

The Crowne Plaza Paris is the only 5-star hotel situated directly on the grounds of CDG Paris Airport, and a great idea for those who are looking for the very best in terms of amenities and service during a brief layover at the airport. Its white exterior is home to an on-site fitness center, staffed by experienced trainers, as well as an indoor pool open until 11 pm. The Crowne Plaza has a restaurant called L Infini, which offers guests a fantastic array of food and drink – ideal if you want a good meal before a comfortable night’s sleep. The Lounge Bar is the best spot for night owls, and who knows, maybe you’ll make an interesting friend or two as you take in the hotel’s selection of fine wines and cocktails. Business travelers will note the fifteen meeting rooms available for hire, as well as a 300 capacity space, ideal for larger conferences or discussions.

The newly built Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel is located inside Terminal 2 and is perhaps the most visually spectacular of all the options available. The futuristic atrium gives the impression of being at the center of some intergalactic space hub and is an interesting and stylish place to relax and unwind before a day of traveling. If you’re really hoping to relax, book yourself some time at the in-house massage parlor and sauna to make sure you’re in the ideal physical condition to spend the next few hours of your life cramped into the seat of a plane. The sweetener is the Sheraton’s Sweet Sleeper Bed – hypoallergenic pillows and soft sheets cover the most comfortable and welcoming mattress you are ever likely to try.

While away the hours in CDG Paris Airport

Charles de Gaulle Airport has served as a hub for business travelers from around the world since it was built more than three decades ago. With this in mind, there are a selection of business lounges at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) ideal for those looking to catch up on some important matters if they find themselves with a few hours to kill before a delayed flight, or in-between connecting flights. The Air France Business Class Lounge is located in Hall L of Terminal 2E and has everything you could possibly need to conduct a bit of work in peace and comfort. Secure Wi-Fi and work booths allow you some privacy to make important calls, while there is an incredible selection of light food and cultured drinks (both alcoholic and otherwise) available to order from the bar.

If you’ve no real pressing or urgent matters to attend to in the business lounges, you might want to take the opportunity to do a bit of shopping. The shopping at CDG Paris Airport, as with most airports across the world, is duty-free. This gives you an opportunity to stock up on some of the finer things in life at a massively reduced rate. Available from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, French shops such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent give the discerning and well-heeled traveler some time to pick out the latest in French fashion. Your every shopping need will be catered for among the range of shops available. From the mundane to the extravagant, you’ll be able to find everything you’re looking for at a discounted, tax-free rate. The sheer variety will also serve you well if you have forgotten to buy a gift for whoever you may be meeting at the other end of your journey.

Paris makes a reasonable claim to being the cultural capital of the world, or at least the cultural capital of the European continent. As such, it makes sense that even its airport would be on hand to exhibit some of the finer artworks and pieces from the extensive array the country has to show. You’ll often see works on display in the terminals on rotation from The Louvre, The Palace of Versailles and other institutions. These pieces are deliberately exhibited in the most public of spaces within the terminals, a gift directly from the designers of the airport to the people who pass through it. For those who find themselves somewhere else on the cultural spectrum, there is an array of game arcades, featuring a variety of 80s classics, which are sure to while away a few hours before your departing flight.