Guide Tour of Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France, located in Roissy -en-France, 23km northeast of Paris. Opened in 1974, and is named after President of the Republic Charles de Gaulle. It is the first airport in France by its importance, the second most important airport connection platform in Europe and the ninth airport in the world in 2019 for passenger traffic with 76.15 million passengers.

The airport has 3 terminals. Terminal 1, recognizable by its octopus-style architecture, mainly deals with Star Alliance airlines. Terminal 2, the biggest of the 3 terminals, is home to the international Air France hub and their partners, SkyTeam. Terminal 3 is assigned to low cost airlines. 10 car parks are available for both long and short stays. These can be booked in advance online on the website. Each terminal has a drop-off zone.

The planning and construction phase of what was known then as Aéroport de Paris Nord (Paris North Airport) began in 1966. On 8 March 1974 the airport, renamed Charles de Gaulle Airport, opened. Terminal 1 was built in an avant-garde design of a ten-floors-high circular building surrounded by seven satellite buildings, each with six gates allowing sunlight to enter through apertures. The main architect was Paul Andreu, who was also in charge of the extensions during the following decades.

Following the introduction of the brand Paris Aéroport to all its Parisian airports, Groupe ADP also announced major changes for the Charles de Gaulle Airport: Terminals of the Satellite 1 will be merged, as well as terminals 2B and 2D. A new luggage automated sorting system and conveyor under Terminal 2E Hall L was installed to speed luggage delivery time for airlines operating Paris-Charles de Gaulle’s hub. The CDG Express, the direct express rail link from Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport, is planned for completion by 2023.

Charles de Gaulle Airport serves as the principal hub for Air France and a destination for other legacy carriers (from Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam), as well as a focus city for low-cost carriers EasyJet and Vueling. It is operated by Groupe ADP under the brand Paris Aéroport. As of 2017, the airport offers direct flights to the most countries and hosts the most airlines in the world.

In 2019, the airport handled 76,150,007 passengers and 498,175 aircraft movements, thus making it the world’s ninth busiest airport and Europe’s second busiest airport (after Heathrow) in terms of passenger numbers. Charles de Gaulle is also the busiest airport within the European Union. In terms of cargo traffic, the airport is the eleventh busiest in the world and the busiest in Europe, handling 2,102,268 metric tonnes of cargo in 2019. It is also the airport which is served by most number of airlines with more than 105 airlines operating to the airport.

The airport is linked to numerous public transport services and is practical and easy to access from Paris or the suburbs: TGV train, RER B, Roissybus, VEA shuttles (departing from Disneyland® Paris), and Filéo Roissy (departing from 16 towns in the Ile-de-France region). The RATP offers a network of buses to access the airport: 350, 351, 19, N143, and N140. Travel between the terminals easily with access to free shuttle services. Numerous shops (jeweller’s, delicatessens, luxury luggage, fashion, books, alcohol, tobacconist’s, etc.) bars, restaurants (classic and fast food), and tourist information points (four in terminal 2 and one in terminal 1).

Charles de Gaulle Airport has three terminals: Terminal 1 is the oldest and situated opposite to Terminal 3; Terminal 2 is located at another side with 7 sub-terminal buildings (2A to 2G). Terminal 2 was originally built exclusively for Air France; since then it has been expanded significantly and now also hosts other airlines. Terminals 2A to 2F are interconnected by elevated walkways and situated next to each other. Terminal 2G is a satellite building connected by shuttle bus.

Terminal 3 (formerly known as “Terminal 9”) hosts charter and low-cost airlines. The CDGVAL light-rail shuttle connects Terminal 2 to Terminals 1/3 and their parking lots.

Terminal 1
Terminal 1 is used by mainly Star Alliance members except those who operate from Terminal 2. The first terminal, designed by Paul Andreu, was built in the image of an octopus. It consists of a circular terminal building which houses key functions such as check-in counters and baggage claim conveyors. Seven satellites with boarding gates are connected to the central building by underground walkways.

The central building, with a large skylight in its centre, dedicates each floor to a single function. The first floor is reserved for technical operations and not accessible to the public. The second floor contains shops and restaurants, the CDGVAL inter-terminal shuttle train platforms (for Terminal 2 and trains to central Paris) and check-in counters from a recent renovation. The majority of check-in counters, however, are located on the third floor, which also has access to taxi stands, bus stops and special pick-up vehicles. Departing passengers with valid boarding passes can reach the fourth floor, which houses duty-free stores and border control posts, for the boarding gates. The fifth floor contains baggage claim conveyors for arriving passengers. All four upper floors have assigned areas for parking and airline offices.

Terminal 2
Terminal 2 is used by Air France, all SkyTeam and Oneworld airlines, some Star Alliance members (most operate from Terminal 1) and other airlines. Terminal 2 is spread across seven sub-terminals: 2A to 2G. Terminals 2A to 2F are connected by inter-terminal walkways, but Terminal 2G is a satellite building 800 m (0.5 mi) away. Terminal 2G can only be accessed by shuttle bus from Terminals 1, 2A to 2F and 3. The CDGVAL inter-terminal shuttle train, Paris RER Regional-Express and high-speed TGV rail station, Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV, is located within the Terminal 2 complex and between 2C and 2E (on one side) or 2D and 2F (on the opposite side).

Terminal 2G
Terminal 2G, dedicated to regional Air France and HOP! flights and its affiliates, opened in 2008. This terminal is to the east of all terminals and can only be reached by shuttle bus. Terminal 2G is used for passengers flying in the Schengen Area (and thus has no passport control) and handles Air France regional and European traffic and provides small-capacity planes (up to 150 passengers) with a faster turnaround time than is currently possible by enabling them to park close to the new terminal building and boarding passengers primarily by bus, or walking. A bus line called “navette orange” connects the terminal 2G inside the security check area with terminals 2E and 2F. Passengers transferring to other terminals need to continue their trip with other bus shuttles within the security check area if they do not need to get their bags.

Terminal 2E Hall L (Satellite 3)
The completion of 750 m (2,460 ft) long Satellite 3 (or S3) to the immediate east of Terminals 2E and 2F provides further jetways for large-capacity airliners, specifically the Airbus A380. Check-in and baggage handling are provided by the existing infrastructure in Terminals 2E and 2F. Satellite 3 was opened in part on 27 June 2007 and fully operational in September 2007. It corresponds now to gates L of terminal 2E.

Terminal 2E Hall M (Satellite 4)
The satellite S4, adjacent to the S3 and part of terminal 2E, officially opened on 28 June 2012. It corresponds now to gates M of terminal 2E. Dedicated to long-haul flights, it has the ability to handle 16 aircraft at the same time, with an expected capacity of 7.8 million passengers per year. Its opening has led to the relocation of all SkyTeam airlines to terminals 2E (for international carriers), 2F (for Schengen European carriers) and 2G.

Terminal 3
Terminal 3 is located 1 km (0.62 mi) away from Terminal 1. It consists of one single building for arrivals and departures. The walking distance between Terminals 1 and 3 is 3 km (1.9 mi) long, however, the rail station (named as “CDG Airport Terminal 1”) for RER and CDGVAL trains are only at a distance of 300 m (980 ft). Terminal 3 has no boarding gates constructed and all passengers are ferried via boarding buses to the aircraft stands.

Aéroville Shopping Center
Called “Aéroville”, this giant shopping center of almost eight hectares (84,000 m2 ) designed by the architect Christian de Portzamparc, opened on October 17, 2013. With an estimated cost of 270 million euros, it hosts a “new concept” Auchan hypermarket with drive -through, high-end boutiques such as Marks & Spencer, a multiplex cinemaof 12 rooms, but also non-commercial services such as a postal branch, a nursery and a gym, as well as a car park with 4,700 spaces.

The whole is concealed by a roof “undulating like a mantle” according to the architect and framed by a landscaped garden and a green corridor. According to its designer, Unibail, it is designed to attract tourists to luxury shops and serve the platform’s employees. Inaugurated in autumn 2013, it has created 2,500 jobs and better met the needs of travelers as well as the many employees of the Roissy-CDG employment center.

Paris Aéroport Experiences
Shopping, culture, exposition, restaurant, chill out or well-being areas… Choose different terminal to discover the best things to do in Charles de Gaulle Airport.

CDG – Terminal 2B: Experience all the trends of the capital
An artistic experience to discover upon your arrival in Paris: rest your gaze for a moment on the poetic photos by Vincent Migrenne. Daily photographer, he immortalises the urban life of Grand Paris in all its aspects and as you’ve never seen it before! A shepherd and his sheep (and his smartphone!) In the centre of Saint-Denis. The shoulder of a bare statue in the middle of the Jardin de Tuileries. Juxtapositions of colour, shade and light!

Glass, concrete and metal. And the sun shining through. Touches of light and colour twirl all around you, almost palpable. The architecture, the work of Paul Andreu, “the architect of airports”, has been modernised, in particular by a glass roof which creates this juxtaposition of shadow and reflection. This superb curved structure open to the sky above sits between the runway and the horizon. The time of the true Parisian way for the influencers, like a trendy concept store in central Paris, these boutiques are made for you. Step in, soak up the atmosphere, wander between the shelves: fragrances from the nicest luxury brands to the right, a designer beauty corner to the left. And trendy brands and handpicked concepts all around.

Escape for a moment and enjoy a generous culinary experience. Imagine that you’re sat on the terrace of a café in our central square, look up and appreciate the luminous rosette on the ceiling, a nod to the Capital’s historic brasseries. From the subway tiling, to the cobblestones, through to the metal structure of the place, everything is sure to remind you of the Paris of yesterday and today. Cuisines from all over the world to share, enjoy and charm your taste buds. Every food kiosk is a journey. Michel Roth invites you on a behind-the-scenes look beneath the table. The starred chef, the most successful in France, opens his new gourmet restaurant to you in the heart of our airport. And there are no more hinged doors for him to hide all his secrets behind, he welcomes you to his open kitchen and shows off all his skills. He’ll tell you his story, all about the products from our land and how he sprinkles in his own little special touch, the one to tickle your taste buds.

CDG – Terminal 2E – Portes K: Admire and amaze, experiment with French luxury
The Place des Trésors is full of treasures, a true Parisienne chic. Clothing, shoes, jewellery: there’s plenty for you to choose from. Being Parisian is all about simplicity and sophistication. Admire the window displays of our luxury brands where expertise, elegance and daring are the watchwords of this unique space.

The artist Nathalie Decoster delivers, with L’Air du Temps « The Spirit of the Times », a universal message that she spreads throughout her artwork. Clean lines, raw materials, primary forms, steel and bronze. Two sculptures over five metres high face each other, both symbolising life and how quickly it passes. A woman and a man, each on their own wheel, turn endlessly and call out to each other. One more treasure to admire, pause and reflect on just for a moment.

Head to beauty area, here you are not on the ground floor of a department store, the nicest brands, one after the other, open up a path of well-being and at every step, advisers are there to guide. From iconic brands to the most cherished Parisian ones. Step into Les Halles, the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes… Wander the aisles and let yourself be led by the scents and colours of the local produce which will undoubtedly awaken memories and desires. Fine, quality and refined products with character: mustard, cheese, caviar, tea, chocolate, and much more. There’s something for all tastes and all palates. Taste the savoury and sweet products on offer at Les Halles delicatessen, all while seated at an elegant bar.

Opposite Les Halles lies Les Caves Particulières. Two spaces with the same philosophy. Here, artisans of taste take pride of place. Enhance your palate and discover some great champagne (Moët&Chandon, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon…) and cognac (Hennessy). Share a unique moment and participate in introductory food and wine pairing workshops. Immerse yourself in the retro world of Paris Aéroport. Solo or in a team, travel through time like Doc and Marty and head to our games area for a flashback to the 80s! Teleport back to your or your parents’ childhood and get nostalgic for the pixelated images and synth sounds of iconic 2D arcade games.

The departure lounge is architectural with a capital A: modern and bright, it delights and encourages contemplation before take off. Elegant and rounded, its vaulted ceiling and shutters cast a soft, gentle light across the space. At the end of the departure lounge, you’ll find another must-see spot in Hall: a striking view of the runways and planes behind a huge bay window. Witness all the spectacular and lively, continuous comings and goings. Sat comfortably in your chair, admire this colourful painting.

CDG – Terminal 2E – Portes L: From Rive-Gauche to Rive-Droite, taste the sweetness of Parisian living
An immersive experience to discover upon your arrival in Paris. Be surprised by the daring vision of young photographers on iconic works from the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie. Discover the talent of these students from the Louis Lumière school, Take a few moments to admire these 55 intelligent and sensitive reinterpretations of our French cultural heritage.

As cross the “avenue” that pays tribute to the typical apartments that line the Capital, with its mouldings and wall gilding, look up to admire the Art Deco ceiling. Imitating the metal structure by Gustave Eiffel, it’s a nod to Bon Marché, the first historic Parisian department store, on the side of luxury brands where style and grace are synonymous with French elegance. The engraved handle on a handbag from a luxury brand, the delicacy of a chiffon dress, the grained or patinated leather of a shoe. The talent of our prestigious brands lies in the details and delight. Take a stroll through our luxury boutiques fitted out like a Parisian dressing room. Enjoy a range of equally rich and vast products and imagine that you’re in the heart of Paris. From clothing to accessories, experience the ultimate shopping experience.

Take a seat in our reading lounge set up to look like a Parisian library, or take a seat in our lecture hall. Enjoy all the comfort you need to stay connected in these varied, elegant and silent spaces. In an atmosphere worthy of Kiki de Montparnasse, seated on a gilded metal bar stool with a velvet seat, enjoy a cocktail or simply a coffee lovingly prepared by our barista. The magnificent, gigantic cat, all dressed in white, dreams above the bright clouds, a suspended work by Charles Petillon which only lights up in the evening. This quite astonishing Zen space is located away from the noise and bustle of the terminal. Snug and welcoming, it invites you to rest and enjoy a moment of mindfulness.

CDG – Terminal 2G: A pioneering and audacious tour of Paris from the Art Deco period to the 1970s
With Extime, Paris Aéroport Welcome to the Paris of decorative arts, flea markets and French excellence. Designer Dorothée Meilichzon has created an harmonious and welcoming atmosphere worthy of a film set. The monumental, 110m long geometric mural, which literally covers the entire length of the boarding hall, certainly catches your eye. An airport runway seen from the sky! Everything is there, crossing and matching each other perfectly. For example, you can see the ground markings, essential for the smooth movement of planes…

A dreamlike, quiet sky universe all around you, many elements are involved: armchairs reclining like in planes, aluminium everywhere to remind you of old-time aeroplane cabins, mushroom lamps typical of the 1920s, trolleys used by the crew as dustbins, not to mention the furniture fabrics, signed Maison Thévenon. The Saint-Ouen flea market is also in the spotlight: giant sconces from the Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (Enac), hangers in the shape of an aircraft engine… The unusual is nicely tinged with history and aviation.

With the lapping of water from a fountain in the background, a nod to the original Luxembourg garden fountain on the Left Bank of Paris, the Fermob chair also typical of the Paris gardens. In the details, highlighting the architecture of the Paris of the past: the arches are a reminder of the old Parisian gates, the green-grey colour, a little oxidised, is a reference to the Haussmann monuments, such as the Grand Palais or the Opéra Garnier. Under the shade of trees is the name of this masterful sculpture which hugs travellers from all over the world like a bench under the trees, coming to be comforted. Created by the French artists Jean-Marie and Marthe Simonnet, known as Les Simonnet, it is a lovely tribute to the plastic arts decade of the 1970s.

Hotel park

Roissy hotel center
With more than 8,000 rooms, the Île-de-France regional planning and urban planning institute (IAURIF) ranks Roissy’s hotel offer as the second hotel hub in Île-de-France, ahead of Disney’s hotel division. There are two types of hotels at Roissy:

Airport hotels: installed on the ADP platform and territory, they are accessible by CDGVAL (Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, Mercure, Hilton, Ibis, Novotel, Sheraton, Moxy). The Yotel Air hotel is located directly in the international area of the airport;
hotels in the immediate vicinity of the airport platform, connected by a shuttle service seven days a week, located:
at Mesnil Amelot (Campanille, Confort hotel, Radisson Blu, Oceania, Première Classe, Nomade Hotel, Courtyard),
à Roissy-en-France (village) (Relais Spa, Residhome, Ibis Style, Millenium, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Mercure, Marriott, Suite Novotel, Only Suites, Novotel Convention and wellness, Golden Tulip, Campanile, Première Classe, B&B, Park Inn),
and in the Paris-Nord 2 business park (Hyatt Regency Paris – Charles de Gaulle, Ibis Budget, Ibis, F1, Suite Novotel, Première Classe).

With the expansion of passenger traffic at the airport and the arrival of new lounges at the Villepinte exhibition center, new hotel projects are planned in the Airport hotels segment.

The Dutch hotel chain CitizenM is going to build a new 230-room hotel at Roissypôle, which is scheduled to open in 2014. The Accor chain is also going to build two new hotels there: a 305-room Pullman (theOctober 8, 2015) and a 319-room Ibis Style (theSeptember 3, 2015).

The Residétudes group opened a Residhome residence in early 2014 (280 studios). The international convention center will host a hotel offer of nearly 1,800 additional rooms in 2015.

Le Mesnil-Amelot
The Breton Océania group has obtained a building permit for a hotel with 150 rooms, and for a second with 200 rooms. The Hilton group also obtained a building permit on rue de Paris for two buildings with 203 rooms and 130 rooms. The Louvre Hotels group will inaugurate a 65-room Première Classe on rue du Stade-Sauvanet before the end of 2012.