As passengers, we don’t often think about what goes on behind the scenes to run an airport smoothly, but it is a monumentally complex feat of organization. In the Paris area, this is handled by Groupe ADP, which designs, constructs, owns and operates airports including Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
The traveler-facing side of the company, which deals with the experience of the passenger, is Paris Aéroport, whose Eiffel Tower logo visitors can see throughout the terminals.
A Taste of the City of Light
‘The goal of Paris Aéroport is to provide passengers with a high-quality airport experience deserving one of the most beautiful cities in the world,’ says Mélanie Carron, Chief Marketing Officer of Groupe ADP. ‘Our message is Paris vous aime (‘Paris loves you’), which we pass on by offering attractive spaces and services inspired by Paris.’
‘We want travelers to get a taste of Paris, for la vie à la française, even during the time they spend at the airport,’ explains Carron.
Easing the Wait
More than 69 million passengers pass through Charles de Gaulle’s terminals every year. ‘In parallel we provide a wide array of free services to help travelers pass the time in the most enjoyable way possible,’ explains Carron. As Paris-CDG is a major hub for Air France, many passengers have layovers, with an average connection time of two hours.
For families, there are play areas with a variety of games for children aged 4 to 12. A baby room offers alcoves with cribs, a kitchen area to warm up bottles, and a place for parents to sit while the baby is resting. Nurseries with a changing table are accessible to both moms and dads.
Paid services include a large baggage storage area in Terminal 2E for passengers who arrive in the morning and want to spend the day in Paris before an evening flight. ‘We are constantly feeling the pulse of travelers, anticipating trends and exploring what other airports are doing to see how we can improve the airport experience. We also work closely with airlines to make sure we serve the needs of their passengers.’
Enjoying an Instant Paris
In this spirit, the lounge Instant Paris (‘A Parisian moment’) opened at the end of 2016. Located in Terminal 2E, near halls K, L and M, where many of Air France’s international flights – including the A380 – arrive and take off, this area is aimed at passengers with several-hour layovers who aren’t able to leave the airport.
This spacious 4500-square-meter lounge is open 24/7 and accessible to any travelers with a boarding pass for halls K, L or M. ''Instant Paris' is free and open to anyone on any airline, economy or first-class, families or business travelers, who can stay for two hours or ten,’ emphasizes Carron. ‘It is unique in Europe – the only airport lounge of such high standards that is accessible to all.’
The lounge is an oasis of Paris chic, designed in the style of a Parisian apartment, with high ceilings, a fireplace, sofas and subdued lighting, making it a relaxing space to wait for a flight.
Within its atmosphere so ‘absolutely Paris’, free services include a library with 300 books to browse, a multimedia space with 6 iPads for reading the press, watching films or listening to music, and a ‘Live Arena’ with a big-screen TV broadcasting live sports.
There are quiet corners to work or read as well as an area just for kids, where they can play with Kapla blocks.
Frequent travelers will discover new surprises on each visit, with changing features from massage chairs to virtual reality headsets. There’s an ethical and organic restaurant area so that visitors can eat and drink in the lounge. If further refreshment is required, even sleep or shower there. A Yotelair hotel secluded from the hubbub of the terminal has 80 rooms that can be reserved for day use for a few hours or for a full night. Showers are also available for €20.
‘The motivation behind Instant Paris was to create a quality space that offers comfort and well-being for connecting passengers,’ concludes Mélanie Carron. ‘Even if they are just passing through Paris, this lounge allows them to experience a bit of the city, and makes their time in the airport as pleasant as their flight.’