Review : Air France La Première lounge at Roissy CDG

While on TravelGuys we are starting to systematically present all the airport lounges that we encounter, we thought it was only right to present one of those that we consider to be a reference in the field: the Air France La Première lounge at Roissy.

The La Première Lounge: a truly exclusive lounge

A qui s’adresse le sWho is the Roissy La Première lounge for?alon La Première de Roissy ? Passengers flying in the La Première cabin from Roissy or arriving from a flight in the La Première cabin and having a connection at Roissy.

There are ways to “treat yourself” to the La Première lounge experience for cash and by traveling in another cabin, which is sometimes offered to some passengers. But since last year the conditions to be eligible for this offer are so drastic that only a very, very small minority of customers can take advantage of it…and we would add that it is so much better.

In short, when you know the price of a ticket in the La Première cabin (excluding promotions or market fare, don’t expect anything below €5000), this is a lounge that is intended to be rare and very exclusive.

An exclusive but not discriminating lounge

Although the La Première lounge is exclusive because it is reserved for the happy few traveling in this class, it is not discriminatory in the sense that all La Première passengers have access to it.

A precision that seems self-evident but is not obvious everywhere. Some airlines reserve the First lounge for passengers departing and not returning from a First and connecting medium-haul flight. Others do not promote their first lounge experience to connecting passengers. For example, at Lufthansa, access to the excellent First Class Terminal in Frankfurt and the associated services (personal assistant etc.) is only available to passengers departing from Frankfurt. Passengers connecting to a First flight in Frankfurt will follow the same route as a business passenger, without assistance or specific services, and will “just” be entitled to the Senator lounge. Unless they decide to leave the terminal and go to the First Class Terminal by themselves, which very few do because they don’t even know it’s possible. On the other hand the ticket does not cost the same.

Simple, practical, fluid access

The question of location and ease of access to the La Première lounge does not arise: in fact it is very exceptional for a passenger to have to get there by his own means and when this is the case it will normally be at his request because he needed to do some shopping in the terminal before.

The access to the lounge is systematically accompanied.

For passengers departing from CDG: they have a dedicated check-in area in terminal 2E.

Enregistrement La Première
A dedicated drop-off zone for La Première passengers at CDG Terminal 2E
Salon Air France La Première
La Première check-in area at CDG.
Salon la Première
La Première check-in area at CDG.

From there they are accompanied by an Air France agent to the lounge through dedicated and priority police and security controls (next to the priority lane for Sky Priority / Access n°1 passengers there is a lane that opens only for La Première passengers).

For passengers connecting at CDG, whether to take a flight in La Première or to return from a flight in La Première, they will be taken in charge by an agent at the exit of the aircraft and driven to the lounge on foot if their arrival gate is close or by luxury car without having to go through the terminal.

And if you’re wondering where the lounge is located, it’s actually very conveniently located as it’s right outside the security controls of 2E Gate K. One passes in front of it without seeing it since one sees only the elevator which allows to go up there. For flights departing from gates L and M, the passenger will be brought to the plane by car from the lounge without having to go through the terminal…although the transfer by car is also very frequent for those departing from gates K if they are “far” from the lounge (i.e. if there is more than 3min walk).

Acheminement avion
A car transfer between the La Première lounge and the aircraft.

The organization of the lounge

The lounge is composed of different areas.

A large “classic” central area for a lounge with comfortable tables and armchairs.

Salon Air France La Première CDG
The main area of the Air France La Première lounge
Salon Air France La Première CDG
The main area of the Air France La Première lounge

It is next to the restaurant area that we will talk about later.

Salon Air France La Première CDG
The restaurant of the La Première lounge

A more private space to settle down in a more “relaxed” way just next door. I’m quite a fan of it.

Salon Air France La Première CDG

Rest areas to take a nap and recover.

Salon Air France La Première CDG
The rest areas of the Air France La Première lounge
Salon Air France La Première
The rest areas of the Air France La Première lounge

Of course, toilets (very spacious) and showers.

Salon La Première Air France
Salon La Première Air France
Salon La Première Air France

A treatment area operated by Biologique Recherche.

Salon Air France La Première
Salon Air France La Première
Salon Air France La Première

No crowding here: even during rush hour, the lounge is almost never full, so that La Première passengers enjoy a relaxing, calm and serene experience. The layout also helps with maximum spacing between occupants.

Then the tones, the materials, the design … everything is done to make the place a bubble of calm and well-being.

Having sometimes spent (very) long hours in transit or just for the pleasure of enjoying the place for a long time before a flight, I can confirm that you feel out of time, out of the world. The service is discreet and attentive and the silence is almost religious.

The only thing we can criticize is that it is almost blind, unlike the superb Lufthansa First lounge in Munich which offers a view of the aircraft and runways.

A video to finish.

Michelin-starred dining at the La Première lounge

Like any self-respecting lounge, the Air France La Première lounge offers a self-service restaurant. You can find delicatessen, cheeses, cakes, small salads… of course only premium products.

Salon Air France La Première CDG
Salon Air France La Première CDG
Salon Air France La Première CDG
Salon Air France La Première CDG
Salon Air France La Première CDG

But the highlight of the show is certainly the table service with a restaurant operated by Alain Ducasse’s teams.

The menu changes regularly….

Salon Air France La Première
Salon Air France La Première

…but there are always some classics like the truffle and ham elbow pasta which are for me a must at each visit to the lounge.

Salon Air France La Première CDG

For the rest, we are on a cuisine inspired, even directly from the restaurants of Alain Ducasse and I have never been disappointed.

Salon Air France La Première
Salon Air France La Première CDG
Salon Air France La Première CDG

As far as wine is concerned, we find the great wines served on board and even a little more.

The service is excellent: fast, attentive and discreet. I am always surprised when the waiter remembers my last visit and my “habits”.

Of course all day long you can ask for almost anything you want in drinks, food, snacks, at the table or brought to your place …. it goes without saying.

Ah…there is also a very nice bar that remains an enigma for us. No one has ever been seen serving nor being served there. Shame.

Salon Air France La Première CDG

The services of the La Première Lounge

The La Première lounge is not just a lounge, it is a set of services designed to simplify the customer’s experience from arrival to departure from the airport, removing all constraints and sources of stress, in short, putting and keeping them in the La Première experience bubble.

1°) We’ve said it before, but let’s say it again: an agent who takes charge of the customer upon arrival at check-in or at the gate, accompanies them to the lounge, supervises their experience until their next boarding, and picks them up to accompany them to their next flight.

2°) The transfers between the lounge and the plane are usually done in luxury cars on the tarmac.

3°) A 1/2 hour Biologique recherche treatment offered for any visit to the lounge…with the possibility of paying for a longer treatment.

4°) Just about anything you need, just ask.

And experience and service mean attitude. And experience and service mean attitude. It is really a caring relationship with a person who takes care of you and accompanies you.

The staff is very discreet once you arrive at the lounge, but you know that if you need us, we will be there for you.

Bottom line: the best lounge in the world?

A very, too complimentary article? No, because it reflects the experience of our many visits to the La Première lounge. One can criticize Air France for its legendary inconsistency in terms of quality of service, the sometimes “surprising” attitude of the staff, its too slow rise to the top…but the La Première lounge seems to be a thing apart that continues to deliver an almost perfect service in a regular and unchanging way.

If it has been voted the best lounge in the world several times by Skytrax, there are surely reasons for this.

Salon Air France La Première CDG

Unlike many lounges that are a part of the customer journey, where you enter, experience something (or not) and leave, the La Première lounge is an integral part of the La Première experience and that changes everything. It is not an element of the course but a part of a global concept totally integrated with the rest. And so the lounge is not just an afterthought, but one of the reasons why one decides to fly La Première class with Air France as much (or even more) than for the in-flight service.

Each time I visit the lounge, I feel a sense of calm, silence and serenity that is rarely felt elsewhere, and certainly not in an airport. A bubble out of time and out of the world that we are in a hurry to reach and that is a part of the trip that we value and look forward to as much as the flight.

So yes, not everything is perfect at Air France, far from it, but let’s give credit where credit is due. The ground experience for Air France La Première passengers at Roissy is undeniably one of the best in the world, and the lounge and associated services, perfectly integrated into the flight path, are a major factor in this. And just writing this article makes us want to return…

Luxury, calm and pleasure? We are not far from it, really.

If we wanted to be picky we could say that it lacks a spa and a “view”… that’s all.

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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