Review: Air France La Premiere Lounge Paris

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Airport Lounge Reviews

We had to check out of the Park Hyatt Paris at 4PM, way ahead of our 11:20PM flight to Johannesburg. We ended up taking an Uber to the airport at around 5PM, and got there before 6PM.

I was super excited for my dad and Ford to experience Air France’s incredible La Premiere Lounge for the first time — I’ve reviewed the lounge before, and rank it as the world’s all around best first class ground experience.

What made this experience difference for me was that it was my first time actually originating in Paris. When you connect in Paris they pick you up at your connecting flight and drive you to the lounge, so I was curious how it differed in this case.

We arrived at Charles De Gaulle Terminal 2E, and I didn’t initially see the La Premiere check-in. I did see Air France’s SkyPriority check-in, so asked the person “guarding” the entrance if that was also where La Premiere check-in was.

She informed us that La Premiere check-in was elsewhere, and proceeded to escort us there (even though it was quite a ways from there). The consistently high level of service that Air France provides first class passengers at every step of the journey sets them apart.

Paris CDG Airport Terminal 2E

La Premiere check-in was further into the terminal. There was a bright red wall with “La Premiere” written on it, and a fairly private room behind it.

Air France La Premiere check-in CDG

We presented our passports to the lovely La Premiere agent, and she disappeared for a few minutes. This is also when I informed her about the surprise nature of the trip, and she was the one who made sure other Air France employees were aware of the surprise. I won’t talk too much about that in this post, so read this post for more details on that.

The La Premiere check-in area was empty and had a couple of dozen seats. In modern times I’m largely confused by what purpose it even serves, given that most people probably check-in online, and for those who don’t, the process should be quick. But it was a nice area anyway…


Air France La Premiere check-in CDG


Air France La Premiere check-in CDG


Air France La Premiere check-in CDG

Within a few minutes the lovely La Premiere agent had our boarding passes in hand and escorted us to the lounge. There’s not a dedicated security checkpoint directly from the check-in area, but rather she proceeded to escort us to the general security area.

However, at every step of the way there was a dedicated La Premiere line, and we were always the only ones using it. There were ropes blocking these areas off, so she’d open the lanes and then close them again behind us. This was true for both security and immigration.


Air France La Premiere priority security

Once through security the entrance to the first class lounge was just a short walk away and to the right.

Paris CDG Terminal 2E

Escalator to Air France La Premiere Lounge CDG

Since we were being escorted to the lounge there was no need to check in with an agent, but rather the person who checked us in walked us all the way to our preferred seats.

Near the entrance there were some floral arrangements, magazines and newspapers, and a very red seating area that always seems to be empty.


Air France La Premiere Lounge entrance


Air France La Premiere Lounge entrance


Air France La Premiere Lounge entrance

Air France La Premiere Lounge newspapers & magazines

While the lounge can get busy in the morning before and after transatlantic flights, it tends to be pretty quiet in the afternoons, and that was the case here. There were some passengers getting off flights from Africa, but otherwise the lounge was empty.

The lounge feels quite intimate, with one main room that had a variety of seating options. About half of the lounge consisted of traditional lounge seating, with leather chairs facing one another. Then the other part of the lounge was the dining area. There’s a partition between these two areas, though there were dining tables along both sides of this.


Air France La Premiere Lounge


Air France La Premiere Lounge


Air France La Premiere Lounge


Air France La Premiere Lounge restaurant

Then off to the side of that main room was another small room, where we ended up sitting at first, as we had the whole area to ourselves.


Air France La Premiere Lounge seating


Air France La Premiere Lounge seating

Off the main room the lounge also had a bar area, though it seems to be mostly for show, as it’s not typically staffed.

Air France La Premiere Lounge bar

At the far end of the lounge was a relaxation area. While it would be nice if they had “real” beds, this is a comfortable and quiet area to relax.


Air France La Premiere Lounge rest area


Air France La Premiere Lounge rest area

This was also the area of the lounge that had showers and bathrooms.

Air France La Premiere Lounge bathrooms

While Air France’s La Premiere Lounge has a spa where you can receive complimentary treatments, the hours are frustratingly limited. The spa is open from 7:30AM to 1PM, and from 2PM until 4:30PM. While I understand demand may be higher in the morning, it seems a bit cheap to exclude quite a few departures from this service.

As soon as we settled in, one of the lounge servers came by to offer us drinks. Ford and I both ordered cappuccinos and water, while my dad had a chardonnay. We were offered chocolates, while my dad was offered nuts and olives.


Air France La Premiere Lounge cappuccinos & water


Air France La Premiere Lounge wine & snacks

After working for a while we decided it was time to turn up a bit, so we headed to the bar and ordered three dirty martinis.

Ford & dad in La Premiere Lounge

Yum!

Dirty martinis!

At around 8PM we decided it was time for dinner, so we headed over to the restaurant. They pushed two tables together so that we could sit together.


Air France La Premiere Lounge restaurant 

The restaurant area had a small buffet, though in reality it’s more for light snacks, as well as for drinks.


Air France La Premiere Lounge buffet


Air France La Premiere Lounge buffet


Air France La Premiere Lounge buffet


Air France La Premiere Lounge buffet

The star of the show is the a la carte dining, with a menu designed by Alain Ducasse. This is without a doubt the best lounge dining in the world. Let me take it a step further — it’s worth eating in the lounge and skipping the food onboard, and it’s not often I say that, since I like to review food onboard as well.

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

Service began with being offered a basket with some warm bread and some butter.

Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

To start Ford and I both ordered the chicken, cheese, and black truffle sandwich, which was to die for. This was also quite big for a starter, in my opinion, and we could have easily shared one.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

My dad had the elbow pasta with ham and black truffle, which he loved.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

I wanted to somewhat limit how much I was eating (since I also wanted dessert), so for my main I ordered the shrimp caesar salad from the starter menu, which was excellent as well.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

Ford had the chicken breast with rainbow sweet bell peppers, which he enjoyed.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

My dad had the fillet of beef with peppers.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

Like I said, we were going all out with our meal on the ground, so we also ordered desserts to share. We had the Monte-Carlo style baba with rum, the hot chocolate soufflé, and a cheese plate. They were all excellent, and in particular I loved the baba with rum.


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner


Air France La Premiere Lounge dinner

Suffice to say we were having a fantastic time at this point, and might have been just a little bit lit up (though I’ll admit I’m a lightweight). We each had a martini, and then they paired our two courses with wines, so we had two glasses of wine, plus I may have poured a bit of extra rum in the dessert.

The food in the La Premiere Lounge simply can’t be beat.

Now, one criticism — the service wasn’t good. Just about every employee involved in any way with La Premiere is exceptional, in my experience. The exception is the server we had in the restaurant.

Maybe he was having a bad day, but he had zero personality and just kind of stood there and looked at us until we ordered. I felt like I was being served by a bad flight attendant for a US airline.

Like I said, maybe he was having a bad day, as in the past I’ve had great service in the restaurant.

After dinner we headed back to the area we were sitting at before.

Relaxing in La Premiere Lounge

Our boarding passes indicated that boarding would start at 10:25PM, though the nice thing about flying La Premiere is that you don’t have to worry about a thing. At 10:40PM the La Premiere agent fetched us and said it was time to board.

We were taken in an elevator down to the lower level, where all the La Premiere cars were parked.

Air France La Premiere cars

Since there were three of us we were once again put in a van.

Air France La Premiere van to plane

After a roughly five minute drive we parked right next to our 777. From there we went up to the terminal level.

Our Air France 777 to Johannesburg

As you can see above, the second jet bridge was full. However, Air France exclusively uses the forward jet bridge for first class (and not even business class). So there was a rope blocking it off, but the La Premiere agent opened it for us, escorted us onto the plane, and introduced us to the cabin manager and our flight attendant.

Our “private” jet bridge

We couldn’t wait for the next part of our Air France first class experience!

Air France La Premiere Lounge Summary

Compared to my past experiences with the La Premiere Lounge, this one did have a couple of weaknesses — the spa was closed (as it is all evening), and the service in the restaurant wasn’t good.

Despite that, this continues to be the all around best first class ground experience in the world. There’s not another major airline that provides such seamless service for first class passengers from the moment you arrive at the airport until the moment you leave. Perhaps the only other airline is Garuda Indonesia, but at this point they only have a few planes with first class.

The La Premiere Lounge is elegant, has phenomenal food, and the La Premiere agents across the board couldn’t be lovelier.

I also really appreciate the lengths the La Premiere agents went to keep our destination a secret from my dad, which made this journey all the more fun.

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Comments
  1. It looks like you had an amazing time with your dad and husband!

    I loved my experience last year, can’t wait to fly AF First next year again 😀

  2. I had the same elbow pasta that your dad had which I also loved. It was delectable and cooked to perfection! I agree with you that it was the best first class lounge experience, bar none. I hope to fly La Premiere again soon!

  3. I seem to recall from your previous review of this lounge there being Hermes throws on the couches but those seem to be gone. Am I just imagining things?

  4. Your experience this time aligns much more closely with what I have experienced the two times I was in this lounge. The escorts were always super friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy their jobs – I mean, driving a 7 Series around a major airport is pretty cool. However, in stark contrast the servers in the restaurant were either cold or unmemorable. And asking for anything on the menu – felt like it was a favor. Also, given that it is an airport lounge – asking for a few things at once should not be uncommon – as everyone has a flight to catch. I almost felt judged for ordering more than one thing. Also, I never experienced the spa – as it was not open /available either time I was in the lounge. All in all, I preferred LH’s F terminal. Yes the food at CDG is “fancier”, but in FRA you can get whatever you want made. The FRA lounges are more spacious and service is always prompt and friendly (in a German way). I guess this lounge reflects AF’s F product. Just like If you’re on the 77W, you will be blown away and if you’re on the A380, it will make you wonder why people go on and on. I have had two “A380” experiences in this lounge.

  5. That soufflé looks quite sad as does the Baba Au Rhum. Clearly the staff at the airport never worked at any of Ducasses 3 star star restaurants. The filet also looks a bit pitiful though I tend find French beef vastly inferior to American, Japanese or even British beef. To be fair though this is in an airport.

  6. Interesting. I flew the same route J class :\ AF990 but was an Airbus A380, not a B777.
    would love to see a review of the A380 🙂

  7. A little disappointed by the lounge food…they sounded better than they look. I think the LX ZRH Terminal E first class lounge has better food.

  8. Where are the Wesh Highlands?

    Well, I suppose after Brexit they can’t be expected to hire English proofreaders for their menus.

  9. Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels, and Makers Mark? Then ‘Jonny’ Walker BLACK. Not Blue as in many FC lounges, merely Black, and misspelled at that?

    Along with an anonymous Champagne they are perhaps embarrassed to name, so they just say Ducasse? Is Ducasse now a Champagne House? Or you can choose Pol Roger, which Total Wine sells for $55 a bottle, or $49.49 each for a six pack.

    Compared to my last visit to the LH First Class Lounge, where when the server found I had a fondness for a particular $250 a bottle rum, he brought a 2/3 full bottle to the table for us to drink, and then take the rest of it home with us ! Even better than the duckies in my humble opinion. 🙂

    Moreover the filets don’t look to hold a candle to the ones we had that the LHFCL either.

    Then add in the sullen service, and I’d be asking myself why I’m not on LH? Especially at $8,400 one way…..

    In the end, wondering why you consider this the “best First Class Lounge in the World”?

  10. Forgot to mention our recent visit to the Flagship Dining room at LAX for Lunch, where the servers were indeed, as Lucky likes to say, “lovely”.

    Started with Krug Grand Cuvee, which as our server said “what a great way to start”. Then a wonderful crab and avocado salad. Followed by the ever delicious Flagship Burger.

    Based on the above review, I’d rather be there, yes in an AMERICAN AIRLINES lounge, than AF FC. Good thing we filled up in the Fl though, as the food on the plane was mostly, as one would expect, inedible. Then again the flight wasn’t $8,400 OW. In our case it was 140K AA miles each.

  11. I flew AF F this spring and I was equally underwhelmed with the service in the lounge. I was not offered drinks when I sat down anywhere (much less nuts, olives or chocolate) and when I sat at a table to eat I had to flag down a server and ask for a menu. The service continued in that vein. This was the case for both visits to the lounge. I felt like the were inconvenienced by my presence.

    And shockingly, I agree with @Robert (not because he’s Robert, but because of the content) that the Flagship dining at LAX is great. Fabulous, friendly service and great food. I couldn’t believe I was on AA. Granted, on board, AF wins over AA even in an A380, but I’ll take the flagship lounge at LAX over the service in Paris anytime. That was very disappointing.

  12. How can you compare that with Emirates F lounge in DXB ? Drinks (Champagne and Wines) are pettyful, comparing to those you get in Dubai… Not to comment about the insipid menu … can you really give us a reason why you consider this to be the best F lounge in the world???

  13. @ dr Rodrigues pereira. AF is elegant. Emirates is bling and tacky. Also their lounge in Dubai has no intimacy. But each to their own

  14. Agree with some of the earlier comments. Impressive if you don’t know any better. The whisky menu is laughable. Johnny black JB and Chivas all under single malts and one is even labelled a blend . American whiskeys the most basic. Food looks like typical airplane food. Seating looks uncomfortable . I think Mr. Ben is trying to talk himself into something here. Dirty martinis ? WTF. They knew exactly who they were dealing with.

  15. The comparison to Lufthansa FCT makes no sense @Robert Hanson, if you want to compare Champagnes, fine, but let´s be clear: FCT are also serving fairly basic Champagnes at low price points, but somehow you are comparing AF champagne to FCT rum. I will agree FCT beats the AF lounge on spirits in general, FCT is the best in the world for that. AF seems to be lacking in the spirits offering, but it seems they have at least some decent single malts. American whiskey is not really a benchmark in any case, but agreed they should have had Johnny Blue on offer.

    More important, the FCT will not pick you up on transfer, that walking trip through the smoke-filled taxi area does hardly scream first class. Originating in Frankfurt the FCT is great of course.

    Cudos to AF for focusing on what makes France great: wines, cheese and food in general, it looks like it does it very well and added to the fact that they will pick you up from any flight and bring you there is top class (hello Emirates, Lufthansa).

  16. was there 2 months ago both out going and coming back from MEX. they served those 2 champagnes and a 2012 Taittinger that was actually really good. is it the best Lounge in the world? is very close! but when you add the ground experience and the other things that come with it. I would say yes it definitely is the best in the world.

  17. Not one single dish for vegetarians. To add insult to injury they offer the ultimate in animal cruelty: foie gras ( prepared by force-feeding birds until they develop fatty livers). Despicable, disgraceful, scandalous mistreatment, fortunately about to be banished from public establishments.
    The rest of it looks pretty déclassé.

  18. Hardly “the best first class lounge in the world” and this review shows it’s one of the worst FC lounges in the world.

    And as others have mentioned, this lounge falls flat in many areas. Perhaps to someone who’s hardly or never experienced a proper lounge, this might seem grand. But it’s not and AF should be ashamed given how solid their on-board F experience is. Alas, in my opinion, LH does First better than anyone in the sky outside of the UAE carriers – even Cathay First isn’t what it used to be.

    I don’t need someone escorting me to the lounge, that’s annoying unless you’re running late and need to cut through security. When flying First and paying high fares, I need a well-designed and comfortable lounge, such as The Wing in HKG or the excellent FC lounge in Munich. Natural tones, soft leathers and woods. Not this white glass, funhouse, Philip Stark nonsense. It’s typical French over the top flair that falls flat.

    A great lounge delivers excellent service end-to-end, no grump waiters consistent with this lounge or a Hertz sprinter van. Yes, the LH vans are crap too.

    A great lounge serves quality spirits. Has a robust menu. Has a rich buffet. The menu here is laughable. The desserts are mediocre at best.

    Air France’s execution of putting Alain Ducasse’s name on a menu, designing the lounge to look like a cold strip club, limiting spa hours and having a bar that’s a facade and not always staffed with cheap liquor is pure garbage. I’ve had better experiences at LH Senator or LAX Star Alliance lounges.

    The design of this lounge alone is vomit. French should hire some Italians to design a proper lounge for them 🙂

  19. I had lunch at the CDG Premiere lounge in December 2018, and filmed a small insect walking the length of the vegetables on my plate. I decided against ordering anything else.

  20. Lucky – I am so enjoying reading along on this trip! So cute to see you, your husband, and your dad having so much fun together!!

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