Air France has just opened an exciting new lounge space dedicated to Business Class travellers and Flying Blue Elite Plus members travelling through the airline’s short and medium-haul Schengen network. It’s no small affair, as this lounge is one of the airline’s largest, with a surface area of no less than 3,000 sq. m. catering to 570 seats spread across two levels. 

In collaboration with teams from Air France and the Group ADP, the entire space and most of the furniture were designed by the Jouin Manku agency, founded by Canadian architect Sanjit Manku and French designer Patrick Jouin. The idea of ‘levitation and grace’ guided the creative duo.

Jouin Manku isn’t the first prestigious designer to work with Air France, there’s a history steeping in award-winning designers working with the Air France brand, in an ethos somewhat different to Qantas’ approach. While Qantas has partnered with designer David Caon across the passenger journey for a few years, Air France has worked with the likes of Charlotte Perriand, Andrée Putman and more recently Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance and Mathieu Lehanneur. 

This new lounge is delightfully uncomplicated, Set against a wall of curved glass, there’s a relaxing, open and airy vibe to the lounge. There’s a clear decision to be as sustainable as possible too, with materials including terrazzo, lava stone, wood and leather all being selected to stand the test of time.

Similar to Cathay Pacific’s Bridge Lounge in Hong Kong, there is a walkway designed as a transitional entrance hall. On entering passengers can quickly enter using electronic gates, as well as the reception desk should they require. A left luggage area and a display cabinet offering Air France Shopping travel accessories are also available. 

There are some wonderful design elements that bring the lounge to life including a giant sculpture linking the reception area and the lounge which is inspired by the wings of an aircraft.

As for the catering offer, gourmet kiosks are located on each level. The catering offer changes throughout the day. For a quick bite to eat, mini sandwiches, salads and hot quiches are available at all times. There is also a dedicated counter with pancakes in the morning, dishes of the day made by a chef at lunchtime, as well as an aperitif service. Cheeses and desserts complete this offer designed in the spirit of a French bistro. The wine list, chosen by Paolo Basso, offers a wide selection of wines and champagnes. Finally, a vast “detox” area has a relaxing atmosphere and offers a wide range of herbal teas.

In an eco-responsible approach, Air France favours regional and seasonal products. In addition, to limit the use of single-use plastics, the airline provides its customers with water fountains throughout the lounge. It also pays particular attention to the selective sorting and recycling of all catering services. 

However the hero of the lounge, situated in its very heart, is a giant staircase which connects the two floors while enjoying a sweeping vista of the airport from the curved glass wall.

Travellers with more time to spare will find relaxation areas upstairs. There is a dedicated area with large, comfortable loungers and subdued lighting to relax in a cozy atmosphere. Comfortable recliner seats also allow guests to enjoy the unique view of the runways in complete tranquillity. 

A Clarins treatment area offers guests the opportunity to discover the new Traveller Spa concept. Express beauty or radiance treatments, 20-minute tailor-made facials are available to prepare for the flight. Finally, a wellness area with ten showers and a changing room is also available.

Located between the two boarding areas at terminal 2F at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, this new Air France lounge is open from 5.30 am to 10 pm. Accessible free of charge for Business and Flying Blue Elite Plus customers, and for a fee of 35 euros for customers travelling in the Economy cabin, subject to availability in the lounge.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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