I had a little bit of extra time at the airport on the way to my latest trip to the US, so I decided to sign up for Parafe. Parafe stands for "passage automatisé rapide des frontières extérieures", or Fast Automatic Passage from External Borders", and it is a free program that was put in place in 2009 to allow certain people to skip the passport check lines. It is open to all adult EU & Swiss citizens and members of the EEE. According to the website, those holding a European residency permit could also apply, but this option was crossed out on the poster at the airport, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
You can sign up for the program at either CDG (in terminal 2, near Exit 10 on the departure level) or at Orly (South Terminal, right before entering into hall 1 on the departure level). There were only a few people waiting, so I joined them, only to find out when it was my turn that I didn't need to sign up since I had a biometric passport and my fingerprints were already logged in it.
They directed me towards the security line and I just had to scan my passport and index finger and walk on through - no more waiting in long security lines for me! (Though you still have to get your carry-on scanned).
The same thing happened yesterday on the way back - I was able to skip the passport check again and just walk right on through to pick up my suitcase, making the plane to car time less than 20 minutes total. I tell ya, that has endless appeal to a person like me who is obsessed with efficiency.
A similar system exists in the US and they are rolling out a frequent "verified" traveler version that won't even require you to take off your coat/shoes, take your laptop out of your bag, etc, but this one requires major background checks (like your addresses and jobs for the last five years) plus you have to do an in-person interview and pay a non-refundable fee of $100. I might try it out if my work will pay for it, but only once the wait times for the interview have gone down.