Sadly, the main building did not age well through subsequent decades and most travelers transiting through one of CDG's satellite gates would wonder how a city as refined and sophisticated as Paris could put up with an airport that had become such an eyesore. Arriving passengers would be greeted with long walks down dimly-lit arched hallways whose ceiling tiles had fallen or were in the process of same, floors whose carpet squares were water-stained and mismatched, and a sad assortment of shops, each manned by weary and disinterested salespeople who looked like all they wanted was to be put out of their misery. By the year 2000, Charles de Gaulle airport probably was thinking the same thing.
But Aéroports de Paris, the company that manages CDG (among other airports) decided to change all that several years ago. The lightfilled Terminal 2 opened in 2004 (unfortunately with a mishap occurring on May 23rd of that year, when a large part of the 2E ceiling caved in and killed some travelers) and, as of last July, the sumptuous terminal 2M was unveiled. This shiny new terminal is a real showcase, and is, in my opinion, one of the most attractive examples of airportolgy I've ever walked through. Talk about spaceage! From the postmodern furnishings in the public space to the infinity sinks in the restrooms, everything about 2M says "We Are French and We've Got Class."
Squiggly chairs in the main hall.
Prior to Terminal M opening, a hungry passenger's choices were limited to the pathetic cold offerings of chains such as "Paul". Now you can sample caviar or oysters, though the latter is probably not a good idea before a long and potentially turbulant transatlantic flight
Fushia and orange makes a statement in the women's restroom
Infinity sinks with motion sensor faucets.
After clearing security, there's a bench area for slipping back on one's shoes. The touch of French class? Each seat has an attached shoe horn.
I didn't get pictures of the shopping opportunities, but trust me, all the big French names are there: Lancel, Longchamps, Hermès, La Maison du Chocolat, Ladurée and more. All gorgeously displayed and staffed by salespeople that don't look miserable.
Bravo Paris, for entering a solid contender in the "Word's Most Beautiful Airport" contest. Now, if you could just get Orly to look a little less like a third-world shack, we'd really have some bragging rights.