Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris always seemed to me to be a perfect encapsulation of the future, or rather a perfect 1960s interior- design idea of the future. Glass enormodomes, snaking subterranean moving walkways, acres of ergonomic white plastic, split-screen security screens, state-of-the-art duty-free concessions and, if you slowly squinted while sipping your dry pink martini, endomorph security guards dressed in luminescent white padded jumpsuits, offering retina identification before it had even been invented. Hadn't the airport been designed by Pierre Cardin? Or Jacques Tati maybe? And if not, why not? It's just so clean in here! And so bright!
Whenever I passed through it, on my way to a meeting in Paris, or a connecting flight into Italy or Germany, I felt modern beyond my wildest dreams. It offered a sense of the same glamour associated with Pan Am and BOAC back in the day, back before the arrival of budget airlines, short-haul breaks and the wholescale democratisation of air travel. If you were wearing the right pair of rectangular sunglasses and perhaps a dash of Creed's Green Irish Tweed, Charles de Gaulle was a halfway house between 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Ipcress File, an assault on all senses.
Last year, Air France opened its new terminal here, and a new fantasy was born, celebrating the very things the old terminal turned its nose up at. The new terminal is all about self-service check in and communal space, all about velvet-rope immigration, free newspapers and Wi-Fi hot-spots, all about inclusion. And, because any British traveller in their right mind travels to Paris by Eurostar, this new terminal has not had the fanfare it deserves. But it's there, waiting to be discovered. I'd even say it's worth a special trip to see it, though given the number of delayed flights in and out of Charles de Gaulle, you'll probably be seeing quite a lot of it anyway.
In fact, I'd say there is only really one thing wrong with the new Air France terminal. As any Little Englander surely already knows, it would look so much better if it were in London.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'Reuse content