Star Alliance has long had a lounge presence in Paris. But the 26-member collective now has an additional branded lounge in the French capital. Right in time for the 2024 Olympics, this latest facility serves travellers flying beyond the European Schengen Area. For instance, to places like Singapore, where I’m heading this evening with Singapore Airlines.
Here’s the experience that awaits premium passengers departing Paris on Air China, Air India, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Asiana Airlines, EgyptAir, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines. (If you’re on Air Canada, you’re at Terminal 2, sorry – you’ll miss out on this great lounge!)
Paris’ new Star Alliance Lounge lives in Terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle Airport. There can be a little bit of confusion, given that Star Alliance now has two separate lounges here. One is the group’s ‘original’ space, which sits right near passport control. It’s on the non-Schengen side, but local arrangements make it possible for Schengen passengers to temporarily cross the border for a pre-flight visit there.
This lounge, though, is completely separate. It’s a fresh and brand-new space. It’s also after passport control, but it’s built to serve passengers flying beyond the Schengen Area. For instance, this is now Singapore Airlines’ go-to lounge.
Speaking of passport control, keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Access no1’ channel at every stage of the journey. As a premium Star Alliance passenger, your boarding pass will display an invitation. I’m able to speed through the formalities at passport control and use a secluded, private security path to get through in mere minutes.
With the rigmarole taken care of, you’ll want to veer right as you reach the main departure hall. That’s in the direction of gates 10-25.
I have to admit though, I walk straight past the lounge entrance on my first pass. My eyes are naturally drawn to Ladurée – which oh so helpfully sits right next door. I know I can’t fly back from Paris without some eugénies for a dear friend. Or for that matter, some French chocolate for our Point Hacks office team. I’m so distracted by the sweets that I do a whole lap of the terminal before realising the path to the lounge is right back where I’d come from. What can I say, I do like dessert…
The lounge opens daily from 6 am to 10:30 pm.
Lounge layout and seating
To acknowledge right off the bat – this is one of the nicest alliance-branded lounges I’ve visited. In fact, compared to its broader peers, the new Star Alliance Lounge in Paris still ranks very highly. I’m the type of traveller who usually knows what to expect, the type of flyer who can be a little hard to impress. But this is one of the few Business Class lounges that makes me truly sit up and appreciate my surroundings.
I’m first drawn to the stylish decor and the premium design. This isn’t just another room with chairs and food. This is a space where every choice feels considered and every zone feels different. Usually, lounges provide three main areas: dine, work and relax. Yet here, every turn reveals something distinct – and every nook takes on a new journey.
But what I appreciate most is the very deliberate French influence throughout. It’s something that Star Alliance makes a point of doing in every branded lounge: that is, using the destination to tell a story and to influence the lounge’s look and feel. This visit to France is sadly just a transit through Paris. I don’t have time to leave the airport for a few hours. But sitting in this lounge really grounds me here – and having been to Paris before, memories of that last visit effortlessly come flowing back. It’s a nice feeling: and it’s only achieved because this isn’t ‘just another lounge’.
There’s plenty to explore indoors, but there’s also an outdoor terrace. I’m here in the evening prior to SQ331 and it’s a chilly 4°C outside. Of the few passengers here, I’m the only one who even wanders out for a look. But it’d be a nice spot on a warmer day.
You’ll want to arrive early for your visit to Paris’ new Star Alliance Lounge to really appreciate it. To that end, the French design I speak of appreciating isn’t just about the lounge’s style. The artwork here follows that too. And when you’ve just stepped off a plane from London, about to board a flight to Singapore, that real ‘I’m in Paris’ feeling avoids the monotony that can come with a long day or a busy travel schedule.
But do yourself a favour. When you arrive, do a complete lap of the lounge to discover every opportunity. Need to do some work? Out of habit, you might be drawn to one of the power-equipped benches or a table in the dining area. But if you went exploring, you’d also find some cosy work rooms – great for private calls or concentration.
Looking for a little less mental stimulation? Make use of the plainer ‘wellness room’ for a quiet moment of self-reflection. Need to freshen up? Just ask reception for a shower key – the water pressure is great.
There’s something else tucked away too. I’m normally the type to spot these things, but even I miss it on my first pass. There’s a subtle door next to reception marked ‘VIP, by invitation only’. I’m invited in for a peek.
More than anything, it’s a quiet space designed for those in the public eye to have some reprieve from public life. It’s not designed as a First Class lounge or for a particular tier of frequent flyer. Normally, access is only granted when the traveller’s airline specifically requests this on their behalf. I’m told, in the short while it’s already been open, it’s played host to royalty, a certain Hollywood movie star and an extremely well-known footballer. That’s all I can share.
Food and beverage in the Star Alliance Lounge, Paris
Even though food and drinks are self-serve, pre-flight dining is still a highlight of the new Star Alliance Lounge in Paris. But let’s begin with beverages. You enter the lounge emerging within a welcoming bar area. Peruse the selections and mix something to taste while enjoying the airport views.
From there, make a right turn. This leads you down the corridor to a separate wine room. From the varied selections, I help myself to a small pour of the featured red – a blend by Gerard Bertrand. It’s the perfect pairing to a snack plate of bread, meat and cheese to get me started.
Perusing the broader buffet uncovers many other options. There’s everything from fresh fruit and salad to heartier mains. They’re not stingy on the meat, either. I try a little taste of every main and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t go back for.
I actually enjoy the food so much that I skip the first meal on my Paris-Singapore flight and go straight to sleep instead. Another lucky passenger gets to savour my surplus Book The Cook special order – they’re happy, and so am I, to get a good night’s sleep. (Seven hours of sleep in Premium Economy, a new ‘not flat bed’ record for me!)
Back to the lounge, I’m here in the evening, so the wine works for me. But if you’re in more of a coffee mood, visit one of the self-serve machines. There’s one near the main dining area and another down the opposite end of the lounge for convenience. Barista service isn’t available though.
Accessing the Star Alliance Lounge in Paris
Here’s a rundown of who gets access to the new Star Alliance Lounge in Paris. Entry is only possible when travelling to a non-Schengen destination.
- Business Class and First Class passengers departing on any Star Alliance airline (+1 guest for First Class only, travelling on the same flight).
- Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers departing on any Star Alliance airline (+1 guest, travelling on the same flight).
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Club ‘Worldwide’ members before Star Alliance flights (+1 guest, travelling on any Star Alliance flight).
- United Club members before Star Alliance flights (+1 guest, travelling on any Star Alliance flight).
- Paid entry available prior to any Star Alliance flight. Book online for €75 (~AU$123).
It’s worth noting that Virgin Australia Velocity status doesn’t grant access here in Paris. After all, Virgin Australia isn’t a Star Alliance airline. This catches some people out when flying with Singapore Airlines. That’s because Velocity membership only grants access to lounges operated by Singapore Airlines. But when flying Singapore Airlines from an airport where any partner lounge is used, access isn’t available through Velocity.
Unlike the other Star Alliance Lounge in Paris, Priority Pass and other independent lounge memberships don’t grant entry here.
The new Star Alliance Lounge in Paris is one of the more delightful lounges that I’ve visited in recent times. The design of the space is premium and inviting, and the food and drinks certainly back that up.
For passengers travelling on Singapore Airlines’ evening flight, the space is also very peaceful. As SQ331 is currently Star Alliance’s only late evening non-Schengen service, those on the flight have the entire lounge to themselves. There’s so much room to spread out and more than ample variety over where to sit. It’s rather pleasant.
Of course, there’s always room to improve. This is definitely more ‘Business Class’ than ‘First Class’, reflected by the self-serve bar, coffee and dining. But on the whole, this is one lounge that’s worth arriving early for. To miss out on this moment of pre-flight bliss would be a real shame.
Also reviewed: Star Alliance Lounge (Business Class), Los Angeles
All photography by Chris Chamberlin, who accessed the lounge as a guest of Star Alliance when travelling Singapore Airlines Premium Economy at his own expense.
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