Inside Air France's new and much improved 2-story lounge in Paris
Air France has a new lounge in its Paris Charles de Gaulle hub (CDG), and it's a big improvement compared to the ones it replaces.
The Paris-based carrier opened this new lounge in the Terminal 2F Schengen departure hall in August 2021 without much fanfare due to the pandemic.
That said, I've been eager to visit, given the high praise that the space has since received from other travelers. Measuring nearly 33,000 square feet and spanning two levels, the new lounge packs a ton of flyer-friendly amenities, including multiple showers, a spa, luggage storage room and more.
Plus, with a quintessentially French design, it's a visually appealing space in which to relax before your next intra-Europe flight.
Let's take a look inside.
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Location and access
You'll find the new Air France lounge located between the two boarding areas at Terminal 2F at CDG. There are plenty of signs for the new lounge, and the large, four-door entrance is nearly impossible to miss thanks to the big red "lounge" sign.
Note that this lounge is only accessible to those booked on flights within the Schengen area in Europe. All other flights depart from different terminals.
As part of the lounge opening, Air France closed its two old and outdated lounges in Terminal 2F.
The new lounge is open daily from 5:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., which should cover most of the airline's flights through its Paris hub.
Those ticketed in business class, along with Flying Blue and SkyTeam Elite Plus customers (traveling in any cabin) can access the lounge for free.
Air France also sells a 60 Euro (~$70) entry pass for those who'd like to enjoy the lounge, but happen to be booked in economy. You can purchase access using one of the kiosks outside of the lounge entrance.
Once inside, the lounge spans two floors, with plenty of space for up to 570 passengers at any one time.
The entry area gives way to an open seating layout with an assortment of recliners, couches and individual chairs.
As you continue into the lounge, curved floor-to-ceiling windows offer unobstructed views of the ramp and northern runways in the distance. Air France calls this a "cocoon" design, which is meant to make the space feel more inviting and homier.
There are a plethora of additional seating options, including a few rows of red two-top tables, and even some bar seating towards the back.
If you're looking for some more relaxation or the downstairs is full, you'll find another large seating area up the stairs.
In fact, the upper level was consistently less busy during my mid-week afternoon visit. The seating layout is similar to one downstairs, with a variety of chairs, sofas and recliners — it's just that the upstairs offers a bit more privacy.
Food and drinks
If you're looking for some nosh, the new lounge has you covered.
Spread throughout the space are free-standing buffet stations with different food and drink options.
During my COVID-era visit, there were a handful of packaged snacks (pretzels and chips) at each buffet station, as well as a selection of cold options at each buffet. This included salads, charcuterie, cheese and some slices of various cakes for dessert.
Other than soup, I couldn't find any hot food. The lounge does feature a bistro area on the first floor, but it was exclusively serving cold options during my visit. Perhaps that'll change as pandemic restrictions are eased.
Non-alcoholic drinks were available in a fridge next to each seating area, with coffee and tea machines stationed nearby as well.
Self-serve liquor is available throughout the lounge with some popular options on offer, including Grey Goose vodka and Bombay Sapphire gin.
Notably, one area of the lounge — located on the west side of the first floor — is dedicated as the "detox zone," and it offers herbal teas and only health-forward drinks and snacks.
Unfortunately, it was too busy to photograph during my visit.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the lounge — especially considering that it's exclusively designed for intra-Europe flights — is the range of amenities on offer.
To start, there are ten showers located on the upper level that are some of the nicest I've seen in a Schengen lounge. They'll definitely come in handy if you're connecting from a long-haul flight, and I especially appreciated the thick towels and Dyson hairdryer stocked in each shower suite.
The shower suites felt like the Four Seasons compared to the showers I saw earlier that morning in the British Airways lounge in London Heathrow.
Lounge guests can even partake in a complimentary 20-minute Clarins spa treatment on a first-come, first-serve basis. There were two therapists performing treatments during my visit, but unfortunately, all the appointments were already taken by the time I arrived.
Even without the spa treatment, I managed to take a nap in one of the relaxation pods located next to the showers. With curtains that provide enhanced privacy (similar to the curtains that you'll find in the carrier's first-class cabin), it was very easy to catch some shut-eye.
Nearly every seat has access to a USB-A port, and most seats also have a universal power outlet as well. Speedy Wi-Fi with download speeds exceeding 100 Mbps is available throughout both levels to keep you connected.
Restrooms are available on each level, with plenty of stalls and a visually-appealing blue-motif design that feels quite luxurious.
All in all, Air France's new intra-Europe lounge is a great place to spend some time before your next SkyTeam flight from Paris.
It's decked out with plenty of seats, and the tall floor-to-ceiling windows offer natural light and add plenty of volume to the space. Plus, with tasty food and top-shelf drinks, you may not be eager to leave.
But the lounge doesn't just excel at the basics. With a host of amenities, including a spa and luxurious shower suites, you may even be tempted to book a longer connection to enjoy the lounge.
And hopefully, Air France is now working on debuting a similar new lounge for its medium- and long-haul international passengers.