Orly Airport is the second busiest airport in France, welcoming more than 30 million visitors to Paris every year. Major modernization work in recent years has made Orly into a bright, airy terminal, which focuses on short-haul and domestic flights, as well as low-cost airlines. There are plenty of entertainment options for travelers awaiting their flight, from decadent French patisseries to 1980s arcade games and a tranquil library area.

The airport covers destinations across Europe and North Africa. Whether you're flying to Lisbon, Istanbul, Reykjavik or Marrakech, there's a good chance Orly Airport will be your gateway. There are also regular flights to Caribbean destinations like Cuba and Martinique. Browse the public art, eat tasty treats, or zipper through the terminal in record time with our guide to Orly Airport.

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A brief history of Orly Airport

Orly Airport opened in 1932 to commercial air traffic but was turned into a military base by the occupying German forces during WWII. The airport was heavily damaged by bombing, which caused it to be rebuilt after the war. It then grew so rapidly that in 1947, a third runway was built. By 1952, Orly Airport was used by more than 1 million passengers every year.

In 1961, a new terminal was inaugurated by the French president, General Charles de Gaulle. The following year, the airport's visitor numbers exceeded that of the Palace of Versailles. The first-ever jumbo jet, Pan Am's Boeing 747, landed at Orly Airport in 1969. Most of Paris's air traffic moved to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1974, but Orly has remained vital as the city's second airport.

What are the highlights and features of Orly Airport?

Orly Airport has an ever-changing collection of art decorating its walls, and previous exhibitions have included panoramic frescoes of Parisian landmarks, portraits of famous French musicians, and offbeat photographs of life in Paris. In Terminal 4, a quiet reading area offers electronic newspapers and magazines in several languages. There are around 100 paper books for kids that feature beloved characters like Noddy and Hello Kitty.

All 4 terminals have retro 1980s-style gaming neighborhoods that are all completely free. You can play arcade games, vintage table games, and classic favorites like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Tetris. Shops and cafes tend toward French classics, giving you an excellent opportunity to pick up delicious and colorful boxes of macarons at Ladurée, millefeuille and chocolate eclairs at Paul, or artisan loaves at bakery chain Kayser. There's also an airport bar and a duty-free shop.

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Good to know about Orly Airport

The easiest way to get to Orly Airport is via the airport shuttle, OrlyBus, which goes to and from Place Denefert-Rochereau in Paris and connects to subway lines 4 and 6. The journey takes 30 minutes. Alternately, take streetcar line 7 and connect to subway line 7 at Villejuif-Louis Aragon. Both runs between around 5.30 am and 12.30 am. If you're visiting Disneyland Paris, you can also take Disney's own 'Magical Shuttle' bus.

European citizens with a biometric passport can use the automated immigration gates, PARAFE, which are faster than staffed immigration desks. If you're traveling with children, baby carriages and pushchairs are available in West Terminal Hall 10 and South Terminal Hall A and can be taken to the boarding gate. Wi-Fi hotspots are available throughout the airport.

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Orly Airport

Location: 94390 Orly, France

Phone: +33 (0)8 92 56 39 50

Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer