Paris Charles de Gaulle Lounge Review: Air France Salon Terminal 2F (Schengen)

Handling 72.2 million passengers in 2018, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is Europe’s second busiest next to London Heathrow. Air France uses CDG as their main hub and, as such, has several lounges to accommodate its frequent flyers and business class passengers. Today we are going to look at the Air France’s “Salon Terminal 2F” – one of two lounges accommodating Air France and SkyTeam passengers traveling within the Schengen zone.

One of the piers at CDG Terminal 2F at night. The escalators pictured here lead down to the Air France Salon Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Just like my first experience at KLM’s Crown Lounge in Amsterdam, I was shocked at just how busy the Air France Salon was. It really shouldn’t be a surprise for a Monday, since CDG is the home of Air France and this lounge handles flights from all over Europe, including hoards of business travelers. As my layover was fairly long, the photos in this review were taken closer to the end of the day when the lounge had become empty.

The first glimpse of the lounge after walking in  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
Large windows and natural light are a key feature   Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Getting there

You should know that within Terminal 2F there are two “twinned” piers – each with its own lounge. The decor, view, amenities, and food are identical.

Nevertheless, in both cases you will find the Salon at the end of the pier, down an escalator and hidden away from the busy gates above. You can choose to present your boarding pass at the reception desk or use one of the few boarding pass scanners across from reception. I’m sure this is very useful during peak times.

Upon entry you’ll see that the lounge offers a very close view of the terminal’s operations with its floor to ceiling windows.The lounge is situated below the jet bridges and close to the various narrowbody aircraft that load and unload here.

One of many seating areas upstairs  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
So much natural light  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

If the lounge is packed and you can’t find a seat, don’t panic just yet! There is an additional floor below with even more seating. Guests can head down the beautiful spiral staircase to the additional space and get an even closer view of the airport’s ground operations.

The stairwell looking down (left) and looking up (right)  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
The seating areas downstairs  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Seating

When empty, it would be easy to say that seating is plentiful. But being there mid-day on a Monday you can see how many business travelers come in and wander for a few minutes, trying to find an empty chair or table.

Guests have the option of more laid back chairs surrounded by USB Ports and electrical outlets, or more upright seating at small restaurant-style tables.

Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Food options

I must say that the food here is somewhat disappointing compared to other lounges. Perhaps because it is a Schengen lounge, its design is for short-haul travelers who won’t be too far from a good meal at their next destination.

Cold food at the ‘salad bar’ was the only option  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

There was no hot food whatsoever – not even at dinner time. This was surprising, but I do remember something similar at the Schengen KLM Lounge in Amsterdam. Maybe intercontinental travelers get a grander experience. But here at terminal 2F all you have are pastries, breads, salads and cold cuts.

I particularly enjoyed the orzo salad that was served – mostly because of its generous use of coriander. From time to time some extra delicious sweets came out including a brownie cake and some kind of hazelnut chocolate mousse cake. Snacks are abundant at this lounge with many pre-packaged chips and cakes that you can grab before a flight. Also pre-packaged are some gluten-free bread options.

Food options in the lounge  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
So much good food Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Beverages

Beverages were pretty standard. It’s all self-serve at several stations throughout the lounge and includes the standard espresso machine and premium tea selection. I applaud the lounge for having large bottles of Evian to pour from. It’s the next best thing to having a water dispenser. At some lounges the only water option is to grab a small plastic bottle, which doesn’t sit well for me as I try to limit my consumption of items in single-use plastics. Also available is a Tropicana-branded orange juice dispenser.

From time to time small glasses of smoothie will appear in the salad bar area (see photos above). You can choose from pink (berry?) or green (a blend of juice and leafy greens?). They’re sweet but seem kind of healthy. Also during my time there a lounge staff member circulated around the space offering glasses of champagne to guests. I thought that was a nice touch!

One of the several self-serve areas throughout the lounge  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
The coffee and tea station  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

For carbonated beverages, everything is in small cans in refrigerators including Heineken beer, coca-cola and tonic water.

Canned beverages  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Other observations

Lounge staff were great at clearing away cups, glasses, and dishes. They were seen frequently replenishing food and keeping the space presentable.

I had an opportunity to use the shower. There are three in each lounge and you must request a key from the staff. I assume they clean it after every use since there’s no particular place to leave used towels.

Tried out the shower at the lounge. Towels and toiletries were included. Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

When the lounge was less busy I was able to take a better look at the area that was separated by velvet rope. It appears to be a special section for Flying Blue Ultimate members. It’s not a level that is widely publicized, but it’s the next level up from Platinum. On an extremely busy day I can see the need to recognize and distinguish ultra top tier frequent flyers by giving them this special area.

Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh

Conclusion

While I’m used to seeing hot food options in lounges, I can say that Air France does a fairly decent job at providing tasty food and a comfortable lounge experience. Wifi was decent, the food was kept fresh, and the seating areas were kept clean. I look forward to experiencing their non-Schengen Salon at some point in the near future!

Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
Magazines were available as well  Photo: Simple Flying/Chris Loh
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