Published on 01/03/2021

Paris-Orly airport celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2021

On 24 February 1961, President Charles de Gaulle officially opened the Orly Sud terminal. First major achievement of Aéroport de Paris, which will install the company's core business - airport design and operation -, the new airport brings Paris definitively into the modern age and once again positions France as a major world power. Back to 60 years of history!

Barely 16 years after the Second World War, Orly symbolises a world in full change. Like all major transport infrastructures, the new airport in Western Paris has to adapt to new flows and technologies. A true architectural, technical and aesthetic achievement, Paris-Orly represents not only the present, but also the future of a country in movement.

Modernity and technique according to the architects Henri Vicariot and Jean Prouvé

Henri Vicariot is the main architect of the Orly Sud terminal. He joined forces with Jean Prouvé, to whom he left the interior design of the building.

Steel and concrete framework, curtain walls (made of glass) by Saint-Gobain, a new airport sound system with 3,000 loudspeakers, omnipresent lighting throughout the terminal, a terrace, etc. 

From 1961 South Orly became a real tourist attraction where families came on Sundays to walk around and watch the planes take off. 

If ever a work justified the pride of those who built it with their brains and their hands, it is this one, where heaven and earth meet.
President Charles de Gaulle
Extract from his speech at the inauguration of Orly Sud in 1961

A luxury aesthetic that combines well-being and pleasure 

From the selection of furniture, to the shopping mall and transit area, to the restaurants, cinema and hotel, as well as the designer outfits worn by the reception staff, nothing has been forgotten to ensure a unique and privileged experience for passengers. A demonstration of Parisian chic and international luxury.

In the 1960s, Orly airport was so popular that it became the setting for numerous films and the stopover for many personalities.

Interview with Paul Damm, heritage curator and author (with Laurence Bartoletti) of Orly, Aéroport des Sixties, published in 2020 by Lieux-Dits, in partnership with Groupe ADP and the Air France Museum.

When Paris-Orly airport was built, the entire urban network of southern Paris was finally designed around and towards the airport.

Today, Paris-Orly airport has four sections: Orly 1, Orly 2, Orly 3 and Orly 4. It is the second largest airport in Paris after Paris-Charles de Gaulle. It is directly connected by the RER B and the OrlyVal.

In 2019, nearly 32,000 passengers travelled through this mythical airport.