In 2021, Paris, France’s Charles de Gaulle (airport code: CDG) airport was the 5th busiest in the world for total number of international passengers (bear in mind that #1 Dubai DXB and #3 Amsterdam AMS operate in countries without domestic scheduled commercial flights). Sure, many countries had more draconian COVID-19 rules in effect for much or all of that year, but still, 5th place is not bad.
Charles de Gaulle airport is not only the fortress hub — that is, an airport where one airline clearly dominates — for Air France, which carries 52.5% of the traffic, but it also is one of the world’s most internationally connected airports, with somewhere north of 320 cities served in more than 115 countries.
Plus, when it’s not strike season, it’s pretty well-connected to Paris, by commuter rail, bus, and high-speed train.
But come Wednesday, we’re not here to discuss airport facts and figures. Besides, Charles de Gaulle is quite well-known — World War I veteran, leader of the Free French (resistance movement against Germany during World War II), President of France from 1958-1969 and creator of the Fifth Republic.
Consequently, today’s posting is to give brief mention to Charles de Gaulle’s daughter, Anne de Gaulle.
In honor of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which annually takes place on 3 December, Charles de Gaulle airport has been renamed Anne de Gaulle airport, a commemoration that will last until 10 December.
Anne de Gaulle was born with Down Syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21) in 1928, and only lived to be 20. Those that knew Charles de Gaulle privately understood that he doted on her daughter; to wit, in 1945, he and his wife Yvonne started the Anne de Gaulle Foundation, to welcome young women “without resources, benefiting from public assistance and preferably from war-stricken families.” (with help from Google Translate)
Pundits might call it virtue signaling — aka lounging on the moral high road — by Aéroports de Paris, the group that runs the three major airports in the Paris metro area; on the other hand, there are worse things than bringing awareness to the Anne de Gaulle Foundation, with a captive audience of thousands of passengers from all walks of life.
If you happen to be flying through CDG by 10 December, please send over a photo of the temporary name change– I’d be glad to give you and your photo credit in this post.