Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport opened on March 8, 1974. It’s known as Roissy to the French, after the name of the town where it’s located 16 miles northeast of Paris. If you’ve flown through there, you know how busy it feels. That’s because they handle almost 61 million passengers and over half a million flights a year. Construction started in 1966; architect Paul Andreu is also responsible for the additions over the years. Terminal 1 is shaped like an octopus. Futuristic (at the time) elevators in tubes whisk passengers from floor to floor. Terminal 2 is known for the dramatic collapse in 2E in 2004 where four passengers died. Never fear; the completely redesigned 2E was opened in 2008 (above). There’s also Terminal 3, and two Satellite Terminals, one of which is designed to accommodate the super large A380.
Today’s expression, monter dans un avion (montay dahnzun av-e-on) means “to board a plane.” Let it be to Paris, and let it be soon. The architecture at Charles de Gaulle served as an inspiration for U2’s “Beautiful Day.” To me, it’s always a beautiful day when I hear the Indicatif Roissy, the chime that precedes all CDG announcements – unless it’s for the flight home.