The airport started commercial operations in 1919 and was Paris's only airport until the construction of Orly Airport in 1932. It is famous as the landing site for Charles Lindbergh's historic solo transatlantic crossing in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis, and had been the departure point two weeks earlier for the French biplane L'Oiseau Blanc, which took off in an attempt at a transatlantic flight, but then mysteriously disappeared. Howard Hughes flew the second nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1939, landing at Le Bourget and thereafter continuing onward to Moscow.
On 25 June 1940, Adolf Hitler began his first and only tour of Paris, with Albert Speer and an entourage, from Le Bourget Airport. In 1952, due to capacity constraints at Le Bourget, Air France transferred all of its operations to Orly and The Paris Air Show was first held at Le Bourget in 1953, having previously been held at the Grand Palais prior to World War II, and at Orly after the war. In 1977, Le Bourget was closed to international airline traffic and in 1980 to regional airline traffic, but continues serving both domestic and international business aviation.
Since 1975, Le Bourget Airport has hosted the Musée de l’air et de l’espace, France's main state-owned aviation museum. Following the discontinuation of regular commercial traffic in 1977, space available to house museum collections and displays has progressively increased.