There is an Instant Lounge that grants instant leisure right at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Located in terminal 2E, it grants total relaxation between flights – and is absolutely free!
I didn’t know anybody who was excitedly looking forward to a stopover in Paris – notably at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Well, this changed dramatically, and I’m here to show you what you are missing out on when you choose not to stop there.
An unlimited urge to travel versus a pretty limited amount of money – how do you manage? I do it by travelling on a budget; and saving starts with the means of transportation – namely flights.
I have no intention to advertise for them, but it’s a fact that the national Dutch airline KLM has often the best deals, whether flying to Asia or to South America.
While I find that their service is quite average, I’m always looking forward to my connection at Schiphol airport. It’s big, it’s entertaining and, most importantly, it’s quite comfortable. Many ‘themed’ waiting areas, furnished with all sorts of large, soft seats and loungers.
Perfect to relax between flights.
Like most airlines, KLM is part of an alliance, here it’s SkyTeam, and so is Air France. Consequently, I often have to fly one way with KLM and the other with their French buddies.
Which is fine when it comes to the flight itself. There, Air France even takes the cake….metaphorically – and literally trades it for delicious food and very friendly service. A real treat for their customers.
When it came to the always obligatory stopover in Paris at the Charles de Gaulle airport, it was a different story.
Long, confusing corridors, hardly any store or restaurant or inspiration of any kind.
Just dull and draining.
I’ve never heard of anybody looking forward to a stopover at CDG.
This said, do I have to explain why I was pretty depressed facing my flight home from Rio de Janeiro.
Not only coming from plus 40° C and heading for minus 5° was hard to handle.
Also, facing a stopover of over seven hours – yes, seven; as in….seven – hours at one of the world’s most depressing airports was not something to look forward to.
Seven hours were too short to explore downtown Paris, especially after a 12 hours flight.
However, far too long not to get into a really bad mood.
But as I was dragging my feet as well as my hand luggage from the plane towards the next gate where I intended to sit for seven hours on a metal woven chair, embossing its design into my but, I spotted a sign.
It read instant Paris – free transfer lounge.
Free transfer lounge? At CDG?
What could that possibly be – a complimentary cushion on the metal woven seating surface?
Grumpy and pessimistic, I followed the signs.
I came to a large, white reception. To its left a gorgeous red sofa. Behind the counter a young man in a black suit looking at me in friendly anticipation. He was polite enough to ignore my traveller appearance of torn jeans and a hoodie stained from the French menu they served on the flight from Brazil. And he was friendly enough to assure me that all the services in this area were completely free of charge.
Bienvenue à Paris
I kept on dragging – feet and luggage – along a couloir, the hallway, which leads from the polished shiny white counter. To the left and the right are two different kinds of very comfy looking fauteuils.
Firstly, a Bauhaus-ish square kind with a middle grey cover.
To make up for the minimalist charm of these seats, the other kind looks a bit inspired by the Addams family. It’s a pseudo-baroque curvy shells in red and black. Not my taste, but definitely very comfortable; plus the round shape certainly provides enough privacy to read or work undisturbed.
So does the whole arrangement, by the way. The furniture is positioned in a way that everybody is able to keep to himself if he so chooses.
Approximately halfway between the counter with the polite and friendly young man and a hotel entrance, the hallway opens to a sitting area with a food counter. Here, they sell sandwiches, pastries, and hot and cold drinks to be enjoyed in a very pleasant seating area.
I will not go so far as to praise their cafeteria. It’s still the same – whereby hopefully ‘same’ only in the sense of identical – pretty dry sandwich made of a forearm long piece of baguette with a paper-thin slice of ham, garnished with a tired lettuce leaf – 8 €uro = are you kidding me?!
To get this pretty dry stuff down, you need to order some sort of drink with it. Like for instance a large coffee – which everywhere else would be a small or at most medium coffee – for 5 €uro = seriously?!
I forgive them. After all, I had the pleasure to enjoy my totally overprized breakfast at the spotless eating area next to the counter, listening to very soothing, slightly jazzy versions of different songs from the charts. I don’t know whether it was due to the early hour or to this quite relaxing atmosphere that everybody was very quiet, even speaking into mobile phones pretty piano.
Only in front of the hotel entrance was a Chinese guest yelling into his phone, otherwise: silenzio!
In front of the hotel? Yap, if all the comfort they are offering for free is not good enough for you, you can check in at the Yotel*. This hotel offers many amenities and you can book yourself in already for a minimum of four hours.
If you just want to refresh yourself, you can access their shower area for 20 €uro.
While the walls in the hallway are mainly decorated with large scale mirrors – giving it, especially in combination with the pompous rococo-ish chairs, an air of Versaille – the lounge next to the seating area is decorated with pictures of Parisian icons. There is even a miniature wooden Eiffel Tower.
Next to the very comfy lounge, the smallest guest can play and build in their own little space – and learn to love flying with mummy and daddy.
At this point I was already so impressed that I forgot about all the horrible hours I had spent at this airport in the past. They’ve made up for it big time. It couldn’t get any better!
It couldn’t? Well, walking further down the hallway, I stood corrected: Entering their library!
Their library is a real library with real books – as well as everything else that characterizes a library: Dim lights, silence, comfortable armchairs….and two of the most beautiful and most commodious sofas I’ve ever seen. Or sit on. Or laid on.
These things are long. I am about 5″10 and as I laid down, there was still room for another person to sit (which of course no other person did!).
These things are wide. I am about…I don’t put it in numbers, but I’m big, and as I laid down, there was still room to move freely without falling down.
What can I say, guys? After I had spent a couple of hours at their library, I hated travelling on. I wanted to stay longer! I wanted to move in!
You know what? I think next time I buy a ticket via Paris, I might just skip the rest of the trip altogether and stay at CDG – it might be the best vacation in Paris ever.
You should pin this for your next trip via Paris – this experience is not to be missed:
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