If you’re planning to spend the night at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, you’re in for a treat. I’ve slept in airports and the world, and CDG is one of the best.
The Setting of The Terminal
Have you ever seen The Terminal with Tom Hanks? Did you know that that movie was based on the true story of a man who spent 18 years living in Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport? Fact! The airport has expanded a lot since then, and Terminal 1 isn’t currently open, but the new Instant Paris Lounge is the perfect place to spend the night if you have a long layover.
Why Spend the Night at Charles de Gaulle
Obviously, the best thing to do if you have a long layover in Paris is to get out and explore the city. But there are a few circumstances where this isn’t feasible.
The first would be if you’re on a budget. Paris isn’t a cheap city, and paying for transportation to the city center, dinner, and a place to stay for the night is really going to add up. Sleeping at the airport is going to be a lot easier on your pocketbook, if perhaps not on your back.
At the time of this writing, France is under lockdown (along with most other countries in the world), and it’s not easy to get into the country without a valid excuse and a Covid PCR test. As such, it’s quite likely that if you have a long layover in Paris these days, you’ll be spending the night at the airport.
Where to Sleep
As mentioned, the best place to spend the night at Charles de Gaulle Airport is in the Instant Paris Lounge at Gate K of Terminal 2E – the international terminal. There are about 50 comfortable beds in four groups spread around two floors. These beds are about the size of a cot and in two styles – one more comfortable than the other. One is wavy with a raised back portion – almost like a pool chair – and many people were curled up on the flat portion. The other padded are padded and flatter.
Unfortunately, all the beds fill up pretty quickly, so if you want one, your flight will have to arrive pretty early. Of course, you could also just sleep on the carpet between the beds, which is even easier if you have a sleeping bag and travel pillow.
If you’d prefer, you can also sleep in any of the seats in Gate K or Gate L of Terminal 2E. There are a few other comfortable seats in Gate L, although that part of the terminal is much noisier and brighter, and you’re right next to the runway. At the Instant Paris Lounge, the lights were on but not bright, and the PA announcements stopped overnight so we were able to get several hours of good sleep before our flight the next afternoon.
There’s also YotelAir, but that’s only if you have $182 to fork out for the night. Personally, I’d recommend using that much cash on more important things in your travels, like street food or excursions.
What to Do
Charles de Gaulle is one of the largest airports in the world (9th in 2019), and there are plenty of things to do, even if you’re stuck in the international Terminal 2E. Here are some suggestions:
- Check out the Paris fashion shops
- Play PlayStation at one of the two gaming zones
- Watch the airplanes coming in on the runway
- Get a massage
Whatever you find to do, it’s good to know that spending the night at Charles de Gaulle Airport is comfortable and fun, even if it’s just relaxing and admiring the awesome architecture.