This is my review of the Air France lounge at Terminal 2E (L gates) at Paris Charles de Gaulle. The lounge opened in 2018 and is impressive, although busy.
I will be following it up with a review of Air France business class from Paris to Dubai. This was part of a long half-term family trip which started with a Eurostar redemption to Paris, a day of sightseeing in Paris and then the flight to Dubai itself.
The saving on taxes and charges by starting in Paris easily covered all of our other costs. We paid just £200 each, vs £470 for a one-way Avios business class flight from London to Dubai.
The flight was booked with Virgin Points as I described here.
The Air France lounge in Terminal 2E, L Gates
The L Gates are in a satellite building at Terminal 2E. This is a bit of a trot from check-in and involves a transit train, although if you are connecting from a UK Air France flight you are likely to be in the same area.
There are two things you instantly notice about the Air France lounge, which still looks good following its 2018 renovation. The first is that it is enormous – 34,000 square feet, apparently. This is the best picture I have which shows the scale of it, but there is actually a lot of space behind me too:
The second thing of note is that it is built on a bridge over a major road. Cars are shooting under you all the time, although the lounge is sound and vibration proofed:
The reception desk is manned as you enter but also has a number of automatic scanners. We scanned our iPhone boarding passes, the scanner turns green and the staff – who presumably have a quiet eye on you – let you walk past them into the lounge.
Looking left and right, all you see is seating and food and drink stations:
What you don’t see is the large spa area around the corner:
When I was last here in 2019 I took a shower, and I found the shower suites impressive – large and well maintained, with towels, a razor, shaving cream, toothpaste / toothbrush and deodorant provided. Hopefully nothing has changed. 2019 picture below:
Next to the showers is a chill out area and this group of day beds, each individually curtained off:
There is also a Clarins spa which I didn’t check out, but it does look a very impressive facility. It is well ahead of the Elemis spas which used to be in the British Airways lounges.
Food and drink
In truth, the spa and day beds are the highlight of the lounge. As with most airport lounges at the moment, the main seating area was overcrowded and we couldn’t get three seats together until a few flights were called.
We there from around 11.30am so the lounge was drifting towards lunch. As you would expect from France, there is a good patisserie selection (when will Eurostar finally start serving decent pastries on its trains and lounges?!):
…. and some hot options (this is pork in mustard sauce):
…. and a decent salad selection:
The food selection looks sparser than it actually was. The serving area is very large and the dishes had been widely scattered. Pre-covid the lounge had a chef at peak times to prepare food on demand, but the area was deserted mid-morning – I’m not sure if this is still active in the evening.
You wouldn’t have gone hungry although it was clearly not gourmet level. Duval-Leory champagne was freely available to help yourself:
…. along with a selection of self-pour wine, although there was a separate bar if you wanted anything more complex than a shot. This is a PR picture of the smart central bar area:
In general, when you remember that this is purely a business class lounge, it was a decent selection. (There is an exclusive space elsewhere for the handful of First Class passengers passing through each day – remember that there are only four First Class seats on most flights.) Get rid of half of the people and it would have been great …..
For kids ….
For the kids, one end of the lounge featured a small childrens area although it had little to offer apart from this video games machine:
There was a separate cordoned off area. It wasn’t clear who was meant to use this, although there was a group in there:
There was no shortage of power points, with most of the seats being separated by small tables which contain plugs. At least on this trip I had brought a European converter socket – last time I was here, I had smugly thrown my cables into my bag thinking that, as I was off to the Middle East, no converter was needed.
The lounge still hasn’t reinstated third party magazines – the racks were filled with literally hundreds of copies of the Air France inflight magazine and nothing else. I can only assume they are less likely to transmit covid than third party newspapers and magazines …. That said, when I here in 2019 there wasn’t anything in English anyway.
The Air France lounge at Terminal 2E (L Gates) in Paris Charles de Gaulle is a modern and impressive space. If they could just get rid of half of the people in it, it would be great ….
I have a niggling feeling that they could have done a little more to break up the l-o-n-g room although they have tried. One of the things I like about BA’s Galleries First lounge at Heathrow is that you have a number of totally separate spaces – champagne area, relaxation area, kids room, the terrace, dining area, main lounge area – which makes it feel more welcoming.
Overall, it is a perfectly pleasant place to spend an hour. It is probably best experienced as a couple – you may well struggle to find seats for a group of more than two. It is so busy that if you were on your own I think you’d be nervous about leaving your personal items to take the lengthy stroll down to the refreshment areas.
The second article in this series – click here – will look at Air France business class on a Boeing 777-300, and explain why this is a good way to spend Virgin Points.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)