Europe Travel

Behind the Scenes at Charles de Gaulle

Last week I got to explore Charles de Gaulle airport in depth with Air France. You’d think that touring an airport would be a bit dull, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. First of all, getting fast-tracked though security was absolutely incredible. Second of all, I got an insider’s peek into the SkyTeam lounge (the 1st class and business class lounge) in both Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle. The opulence! The luxury! So this is how the other half flies! (Plus Blondie was at CDG going into the airport at the same time I was which was pretty exciting.)

Here’s a confession dear readers: I love traveling to different places. I do not tend to love the act of traveling itself; the waiting, the queueing, the packed seats. But getting to experience how business and first class fly put flight into a whole other perspective. It was so glamorous. It reminded me of footage of flights in the 50s, when everyone dressed to the 9s to board planes and smoked on board.

One brilliant thing that I really want to congratulate CDG on is their incredible staff. Everyone we interacted with was absolutely lovely. That and the free wifi. Free wifi in an airport especially when you are on a layover during a long-haul flight is a godsend.

For it being one of the busiest airport in Europe, I have to admit that the newly remodelled terminal was designed with comfort and peace of the passengers in mind. We were told that the design tried to incorporate a lot of air and light to help symbolise light. Plus the steel inside the building is from the famous Eiffel Company. The airport has also been redesigned with Schengen Area passengers in mind, passengers on flights going to and fro to different countries in the area no longer have to go through security again. Everyone benefits from this really because it cuts down on security line wait times for everyone!

eiffel tower
The obvious sign that you’ve landed in Paris.

tracks
Tracks to and from terminals.

air bus
An airbus pulling in.

airportjohn paulorange lightceiling museum
A museum within CDG.

christmas scene
Luxury goods and Christmas? Don’t mind if I do!

window store
I loved this dress in a display window!

bubbles
This bubble wall displayed different pictures made up of the bubbles. It can be programmed to display pretty much anything. I saw Christmas trees and snowflakes while I was there.

laduree
Of course, I had to take a photo of the Laduree. Long time readers will know I have a macaron obsession.

living wall
One of the multiple living walls.

cow
Airport cow. As you do.

lounge
How comfy do these seats look?

sunair france jackets
We all donned these lovely vests before going out onto the runway.

engine
Up close and personal with an Airbus engine.

inside air bus
Flying in style inside the Airbus. As a disclaimer, this photo was taken immediately after a flight before the crew had a chance to clean up from that flight.

runway
On the runway at CDG.

rainwingtailskyteam lounge
In the SkyTeam Lounge at CDG.

airport 2           plane through window
And back home to London!

I attended the behind the scenes tour of Charles de Gaulle airport as a guest of Air France UK, who’s central hub resides within the CDG airport. Whilst I received complementary flights, Air France UK flies 16 times a day from London Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle, with return flights starting from £89 and £53 for a single. All comments and opinions are, as ever, my own!

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  • CDG looks great as a travel hub!
    (Ps. Loved the “Just an airport cow, as you do…”)

  • In my work there is a lot of flying and in the past none has ever had a good word to say about CDG as it’s apparently a pain to travel through, looks like they might have changed a bit!

    • It got a huge makeover last summer ish. The people I talked to at CDG fully admit that it was not only super confusing but also a bit terrible to change there before that! x

  • Maybe I’m weird, but I do enjoy the journey part of the travel experience, at least on the way to the destination, anyway. By the time we are heading home, I’m normally pretty tired! 🙂 I’ve never been to the airport in Paris because it’s easier to take the Eurostar, but as far as an airport to be stuck in for a layover, this one doesn’t sound too bad. Yay for free WiFi!

  • Agreed – traveling is amazing, but traveling can also suck.

    Also, who knew airports could look so good? Great pics!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Sounds so interesting! I would definitely be up for such a tour too!

  • This is really cool. How did you hear about this tour?! I love all of the lounges! It is my life saver when I flight international! I’m currently sitting in a airport lounge right now lol
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

    • Hi Melanie! I was a guest of AirFranceUK (you can see the disclaimer details at the bottom of the post) so it was a tour that they arranged so a few bloggers over here. It was super lovely! xx

  • Oh, I’d love to lounge here for the day! Getting a peek at first and business class anytime I’m on a plane sends me into such ‘the grass is always greener’ mode! I’m on my way to someplace amazing, and I’m wishing I could also be enjoying those seats all the way there!

  • Oooh, what a cool and unique experience! I was at CDG this time last week and was amazed at how beautiful it was and all of the comfy sits to spread out on. Happy Christmas 😀

  • Great photos and what a great experience! It makes me want to go to CDG just for a glimpse of this. I too love to travel but hate the queues the waiting etc. Have you been through the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow, that is also a delight? Happy and safe traveling in 2015 and Merry Christmas!

    • I don’t believe I have been through the new terminal 2! I was only in 4 at Heathrow- I’ll have to check it out next time! Merry Christmas to you as well! xx

  • What a fun experience to check out an airport like that! I would love to be able to do that. In the US I have TSA pre-check so never wait in lines for security which is amazing- definitely something that makes the experience of traveling so much better!

    • I don’t mind waiting at security usually, but as a non-EU passport holder, the lines at immigration can take longer than the actual flights between European countries! Ha, it’s crazy! x

  • Wait… no Blondie pics?

    • I tried on my iPhone and they turned out really badly unfortunately. Damn discretion next time! x

  • this sounds interesting! i do love travelling, until the waiting and too many people around me give me a migraine haha. but even then, i actually like all the parts of travelling:-) xx

    • Yikes! Migraines are no fun though! Luckily you have the excitement of a new destination that awaits you on the other side! x

  • I found this interesting thanks

  • Ummmm you are so cool. Also just FYI, the Best Buy ad makes it difficult to comment from my phone.

    • Thanks for letting me know! I’m having trouble getting the mobile responsive theme to work at all on my phone right now, so I’ll get on it asap! I hope you had an amazing Christmas! xx

  • I had no idea airports ever conducted behind the scenes tours. That’s pretty neat. I wouldn’t have guessed from that picture of the inside of the airbus that the crew hadn’t cleaned up. The blanket and pillow make it seem “lived in” and comfy. And all the more luxurious. I feel like a peasant just looking at it.

    • I kept having to just laugh and be like “well. I’ll never be flying this way, so might as well enjoy the tour!” hehe. it would be the way to go! x

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this post! It’s always fun to see a behind-the-scenes look!

  • There’s a fun little sponsorship opportunity! Flying business class (and I imagine 1st class)makes so much difference to the experience. We flew business to NYC and it was the best flight I have ever had. It has ruined me for all other flights! We’re going business to San Francisco in January and I can’t wait.

    • i’m pretty jealous of your extra leg-room on a long haul flight! I’ve never flown anything long-haul other than coach and stared up in envy 😉 Merry Christmas! xxx

  • How fun! I have yet to endure business/1st class. I’m thinking about splurging one day on a long-haul flight to experience it. Awesome you got that behind the scenes opportunity!

    • I’d love to splurge on it one day, but that day will be in the distant, distant future. Something to look forward to one day! ;D xx

  • What a unique experience! Those seats DO look comfy and I love that there’s a Laudree in the terminal! Merry Christmas Amanda!

  • What a cool experience!! Hope you guys had a great holiday!! I have been through CDG a few times, and have always found it busy, busy. Having lounge access certainly makes flying so much more enjoyable….we had access for our honeymoon through P’s company and it was a hard adjustment when the priority status ran out 🙁

    • Ha, I don’t want to fly any other way anymore. How spoiled of me! (Of course I never will have access again ;D so it doesn’t really matter) x