Layover at Paris Airport (CDG)

Things to Do and Useful Tips for your Layover at Paris Airport

Paris International Airport (CDG)GuideLayover at the Airport

Your Layover at CDG Airport may be the Best Part of your Journey!

It may sound like an exaggeration, but nothing can go wrong when you can choose between spending your time at the magnificent Charles de Gaulle Airport, being an attraction itself, and heading to Paris, which needs absolutely no introductions. So, do you have a stopover at CDG Airport ahead of you? Lucky you!

11+2 Ways to Spend a Short Layover at Paris Airport

Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport Terminal 1

1. You can’t Leave Paris without Shopping (even at the Airport)

If you are on a tight budget, you can limit yourself to window shopping. It still counts! No matter the terminal you are landing at, you’ll find plenty of options, including high-fashion designers and customary stores. Check them all out, but take a closer look at France’s main brands, such as Céline, Hermès, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp, and…the list is endless. Duty-Free areas are also to be found scattered throughout all the compartments of the CDG complex, full of French style, taste, and glamour – minus the taxes!

Our Tip 1: If you want to travel light, you can benefit from the Shop & Collect service. Thus, make your purchases and collect them as soon as you return to Paris Airport.

Our Tip 2: While T1, T3, T2D, and T2G have limited shopping options, T2A, T2B, T2C, and T2F will satisfy your expectations. After all, you’ll have access to Burberry, Dior Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Hugo Boss, and so many other fancy brands as well as budget retail stores. However, T2E is undoubtedly the elite of the CDG shopping experience, housing “La Place des Trésors” (Treasures’ Place), waiting to dig them out! Unfortunately, access from one terminal to another’s airside is possible only with a boarding pass for the particular terminal.

2. Get a Bite of the French Cuisine

Charles de Gaulle airport’s dining options aren’t as impressive as T2E’s shopping collection. Nevertheless, among them, you’ll find restaurants and cafes. From common snack bars to scenic “cafés parisiens” and bistros, and from restaurants run by Michelin-awarded chefs to fast-food chains, eating and drinking at Paris CDG Airport is a must for your layover.

3. CDG’s Wi-Fi Network is at your Disposal

Paris Roissy Airport offers you free, unlimited access to the airport’s Wi-Fi, as well as many complimentary charging points. Thus, you can use the free Wi-Fi network to finish your work projects, check your social media or even watch a movie. What’s more, the airport is equipped with designated workstations, ideal for passengers who have work loose ends pressing to be tied up.

Our Tip: Use the airport’s Wi-Fi and download the CDG app,  Paris Aéroport, to be up to speed and have easy access to all airport info.

4. Charles de Gaulle Loves Children…

And proves it by having (besides the necessary amenities such as children’s restrooms etc.), playgrounds at most of its terminals, suitable for children between 4 and 10 years of age. The airport’s play areas are also kitted with TVs displaying cartoons.

5. But Perhaps Loves Teenagers (and not Only) More!

That’s why it has free Playstation areas as well as gaming touchscreen tables in almost all its terminals. What’s more (and as if this wasn’t enough), T2C and T2E house zones with arcade-type retro games, bringing “Packman” back to your life! Do you still feel worried about your layover at CDG Airport?

6. Find your Inner Peace

No matter your religious convictions, Paris International Airport has the facilities to pray or simply calm yourself before your onward flight. Thus, at CDG Airport, you can find:

  • Chapels: located at T1 (6:30 am to 11:30 pm), T2E (24/7), and T2F (04:00 am to 11:30 pm)
  • Mosques: located at T1, T2E, and T2F
  • Synagogues: located at T1, T2E, and T2F

The prayer areas are to be found at the CDGVAL level of T1, near Yotel Hotel at T2E, and lying at the Arrivals level of T2F.

7. Let Paris CDG Airport Pamper you

Hence, enjoy a relaxing massage or a beauty treatment to rejuvenate yourself. Do you want to spend as little money as possible at the airport? Head to one of the airport’s massage chairs. You’ll still refresh yourself.

8. Go for “Plane-Watching”

You are stuck at an airport. What’s more obvious than spending some time spotting the planes coming and going and watching their almost “dance-like” maneuvers on the runways, while chilling in a comfortable chair? You’ll find plenty of spots ideal for plane-watching at Charles de Gaulle. The window areas at T2F along with the plate-glass windows located at T2E are listed among the passengers’ most preferred ones.

9. The Cultural Experience which is Charles de Gaulle CDG Airport

Charles de Gaulle airport’s cultural amenities are various and highly interesting. Hence, even if you can’t leave the airport and head to the iconic Paris, you can still enjoy Paris’ “artistic” atmosphere near your onward gate:

  1. Espace Musées:  CDG brings Paris to you. Exhibits from Paris museums are carefully chosen to form outstanding collections displayed at the Departures level of T2E’s S4 (Hall M). The 250m² exhibition changes every 6 months and is, in fact, an architectural attraction itself. 
  2. Periodic Exhibitions: Paris International Airport displays art in all its forms: from photography collections to sculpture exhibits and painting exhibitions. The exhibitions are to be found from time to time at all the airport’s terminals, but mainly at T1, T2E, and T2F. 

The “music touch” of CDG: The airport creates constantly updated music playlists, including various types of songs from French artists while giving passengers the possibility to re-watch live events and concerts that took place at the airport’s facilities. What’s more, it also offers passengers a song selection depending on their traveling destination.

10. Let yourself Relax at CDG Airport

Whether you want to take a nap or simply relax for a moment and refill your batteries before your upcoming journey, CDG Airport has the ideal facilities to meet your needs. Equipped with more than 25.000 seating of all types, suitable for every passenger – from children to older travelers -, the airport has rest zones at all its terminals, which can often be compared to lounge areas. On the other hand, many lounges are spread over the airport’s layout, offering drinking, dining, entertainment, and even shower amenities in cozy environments. While being available to Business or VIP passengers, most of them can be accessed for a fee.

Our Tip: T1 is the oldest terminal building, whereas T2E has been thoroughly renovated. Thus, the best facilities of Paris Airport are to be found at T2E.

11. Check in to the Airport Hotel

That is if you are departing from T2E. Yotelair is located at Gate L of T2E and can be reached only by passengers departing from Gates K, L, and M of T2E (passengers traveling to non-Schengen international destinations). The hotel offers hourly bookings (there is a 4-h minimum stay though) as well as shower facilities.

Our Tip: Please note that Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel, located on the airport’s landside near T2E, also accepts hourly bookings.

Layover at CDG Airport: 2 more Ideas

  1. Instant Paris: the free airport lounge, lying at Hall L of T2E. Instant Paris was designed to radiate an authentic Parisien homey atmosphere. The lounge has a game area, a library with books in many languages, a dining zone (upon payment), and an office. Yotelair is just at the end of the lounge. 
  2. Do you want to get fully acquainted with the airport? Follow one of the airport tours organized by the Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource.

Note: Are you a smoker? Smoking is strictly prohibited in Paris Airport, apart from the designated smoking airport areas inside the terminals. Of course, you are free to smoke outside the terminal buildings.

During a Long Layover, Waste no Time and Head to Paris!

Paris Airport - Paris city center
It goes without saying that everyone wants to spend even a few hours in enchanting Paris. So, a long layover at Charles de Gaulle International Airport can offer you just that: a short and still thrilling glimpse of the French capital. Nevertheless, you should calculate your free time carefully. CDG is a vast and busy airport. Thus, you may even need up to 2.30h to check in for your next flight. So, it is recommended to leave the airport only if you have at least a 7-8-hour stopover ahead of you. 

Our Tip 1: If you need to store your luggage and visit Paris hassle-free, there is a luggage storage area located at level 4 of T2, accepting baggage and also smaller personal items (laptops, etc.)

Our Tip 2: If you are flying from a country requiring a visa issue, you should check if your visa is an airport travel visa. In that case, you’ll have to issue another visa, if you want to leave the airport’s premises.

The Near-the-Airport Options

1. Aéroville 

The top shopping alternative, a breath away from CDG Airport, for travelers finding the airport’s options inadequate. The shopping mall is 10-15 minutes away from Charles de Gaulle and has a satisfying variety of budget shops as well as designer brands, restaurants, and a cinema complex.

2. Air and Space Museum

If you are a “plane lover”, you’ll simply fall for this museum. Air and Space Museum offers a thorough insight into aviation, displaying more than 150 aircraft, and it is only a 15-20-minute drive away from CDG Airport.

3. Musée National de la Renaissance

Lying 25 minutes from the airport, Musée National de la Renaissance is housed in an impressive 16th-century building surrounded by a dense forest. The museum hosts a wide collection of 15th, 16nt, and 17th-century works of art along with a restaurant area. It is not listed among the most popular Paris attractions. Still, it is worth your time.

4. Parc Astérix

Parc Astérix, approximately 25 minutes from CDG Airport, is an entertainment park inspired by – what else? – the comic Asterix. Well-known for its roller coasters, the park guarantees a thrilling and fun experience for the little and the older passengers of Roissy Airport.

Heading to the Heart of Paris

1. Follow the Seine 

And walk your way from Eiffel Tower up to Notre Dame (a 5 km distance). You can either just enjoy the beautiful scenery and watch the attractions from a long distance or choose to visit one or some of them, depending on your free time. In any case, you should book online “skip-the-line” tickets for your places of interest, as the waiting lines for the most popular attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, are legendary.

During your walk, you’ll come across:

  • Eiffel Tower: THE landmark of Paris never ceases to amaze. Climb to the first or second level to admire the view, buy some gifts or have a drink or a meal at the Tower’s eating facilities, and if you dare, ascend to its top level to relish the breathtaking panorama. On the other hand, Eiffel Towers is surrounded by the Parc du Champ de Mars and Trocadéro gardens, the ideal places to relax, enjoy the Tower’s view, and take the top Paris pics.
  • Musée d’Orsay: Sheltered inside the formerly Gare d’Orsay, one of the most famous train stations, Musée d’Orsay hosts an amazing 19th-20th-century art collection, captivating the lovers of the Impressionist movement. 
  • Le Louvre: You can spend as much time as you want at the Louvre, and it would never be enough. The huge museum hosts an unbelievable variety of masterpieces. It isn’t recommended to try to visit it during a layover as it requires having a lot of spare time ahead of you. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to leave Paris without a glimpse of the Louvre, pre-book your tickets and get to see at least the legendary Mona Lisa. 
  • Pont Neuf: Don’t forget to take a second look at the Pont Neuf, the oldest and the most famous Paris bridge.
  • Sainte Chapelle: An impressive 13th-century chapel known for its numerous stained glass windows. 
  • The Conciergerie: The old justice house of the French Revolution used to host dark stories in its prison cells, where even Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned. Today the Conciergerie serves as a museum.
  • Notre Dame: Little needs to be said about the impressive Notre Dame, situated on an island inside the Seine River (Île-de-la-Cité).

2. Forget all about Walking and “Sail” your Way to Paris

In other words, take one of the many boat cruises to the Seine River and enjoy all this sightseeing without taking even one step. Are you hungry? Many boats house dining facilities too. 

3. Combine Sightseeing and Shopping

Champs-Elysées will offer you exquisite sightseeing, shopping, and even dining experiences. Start your journey from Place de la Concorde, lying at one end of the huge boulevard, where the Egyptian obelisk is to be found, and head to the other road’s end, where the Arc de Triomphe is situated. In the meanwhile, you’ll come upon many fancy boutiques and fine dining restaurants. 

4. Get to Know the Boho Paris

Montmartre, the artists’ neighborhood, is a unique place in Paris. Wander around the scenic roads with the small bistros and the art galleries, and end your walk at Sacré-Coeur, one of the most amazing Paris attractions. 

5. Let yourself Relax at Jardin du Luxembourg 

Spend your airport layover in the most relaxed way, surrounded by nature right in the heart of Paris. The Luxembourg Gardens are located downtown, and they are the ideal place to calm yourself, enjoy the green scenery, dine at the cozy restaurant and, if you are lucky, witness one of the many music events that take place inside its premises.

6. Enjoy a “Creepy” Stopover: Visit the Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris shelter the skeletons of more than six million people. A guided tour through the rambling tunnels of the Catacombs is far from the romantic Paris atmosphere anticipated by the majority of the city’s visitors. Nevertheless, it is an experience resembling no other.

7. Make your Life Easier…

…and choose one of the guided tours organized by various travel agencies. In that way, you’ll get to know Paris without worrying about navigating yourself around the city or planning the right itinerary for your available layover time. Alternatively, you can choose one of the “Hop-on Hop-off” bus tours and enjoy Paris hassle-free.