The opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games promises to be spectacular: on the sparkling waters of the Seine, a flotilla of barges will transport some 10,000 athletes to the foot of the Eiffel Tower, while almost half a million spectators line the route of four miles. to animate the event of the century.
Good luck, though, getting any of the 100,000 ticketed seats front and center at the party. Most are sold out, and the few that remain cost a whopping 2,700 euros, about $2,930 each. Tickets to watch another popular Olympic event, the men's 10 meter platform diving, cost from €875. The women's artistic gymnastics finals, an eternal attraction: around 1,799 euros.
Organizers of the Paris Olympics set an ambitious goal for what they called the People's Games, promising to make the world's most iconic sporting event equitable and accessible.
But be prepared to pay.
Seven months before the Olympic torch shines on the City of Light this summer, the cost of participating in the most sought-after sporting competitions, not to mention the price of accommodation and transportation, has risen, sometimes to Olympic proportions.
Many hotels and rental apartments have doubled or tripled their usual summer rates (think an average of 1,000 euros per night instead of 300 euros), and some have even quintupled them. Airfares are increasing rapidly. The cost of a Paris Metro ticket is temporarily doubled. Even the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles have increased entry fees.
Do you still dream of reaching the Olympic event? Don't be discouraged if you haven't booked yet. The Games, which will be held from July 26 to August 11, still have some ticket offers for competitions with large audiences such as football and basketball. Places are also still available for the Paralympic Games, from August 28 to September 8. And some prices could start to drop closer to the Games.
Paris will be its own extraordinary attraction, transformed into a giant open-air stadium with competitions such as break dancing on the Place de la Concorde and beach volleyball on the Eiffel Tower. And President Emmanuel Macron will offer free cultural shows of all kinds for two months in the summer to celebrate the Olympic spirit.
Still, exactly how you experience the Games will depend on your budget. Here are some tips on what to expect.
Find a place to stay
Paris is like a jewelry box: dazzling but compact. With around 15 million visitors expected and just 85,000 rooms, hoteliers are making the most of the huge demand. So are Parisians: many are planning to flee the city and rent their apartments at a good price. Average Airbnb prices for the Olympic dates have exceeded 500 euros per night.
At a typical Ibis hotel, a chain similar to Holiday Inn, expect to pay between 400 and 700 euros per night for a fairly basic double room with Wi-Fi and breakfast, compared to the normal 90 to 200 euros. A double room in the most exclusive hotel Ducs de Bourgogne, near the Pont Neuf, has a price on Booking.com of 1,500 euros per night, compared to the normal 300 euros in summer.
Consumer associations, including UFC-Que Choisir, a French advocacy group, have denounced price increases that they say risk making the Olympics unaffordable for some.
The French government has said it will not regulate prices but will step up inspections of hotels and apartment rentals. “It is essential that French and international tourists get their money's worth,” said Olivia Grégoire, Minister in charge of Tourism.
With months before the Games, travelers can find less expensive accommodations averaging 450 to 550 euros per night, mostly on the outskirts of Paris or beyond the city limits, said Christie Hudson, a travel expert at Expedia.com. .
But even there, the average cost of an overnight stay in the Île-de-France region surrounding Paris is about 700 euros during the Olympics, compared with 169 euros last summer, according to the Visitors Bureau and Paris Conventions.
That trend could reverse: Some hotels have not released their entire room inventory and prices could drop as they try to fill their calendars. The downside to waiting is the risk of finding something available at the last minute; Not ideal if you've already secured tickets to events or booked air travel.
Airbnb prices for the Olympics have already cooled somewhat, with rates for all accommodations, including private and shared rooms, now averaging around €542 per night, after rising to €746 in December, according to AirDNA , which tracks Airbnb booking trends. Tens of thousands of new listings have appeared online across France and greater supply is expected in the Paris region, a factor that should keep prices “affordable,” an Airbnb France spokesperson said.
If money is no object, hospitality deals through the official partner of the Paris Games, On Location, guarantee booking through all-inclusive packages that include tickets to selected sporting events and accommodation in hotels of three, four and five stars. Options include €8,660 per person in a three-star hotel for eight nights and tickets only to rock climbing competitions, or €21,105 for a five-day luxury package at the Waldorf Astoria in Versailles that includes the opening ceremony and events equestrian
Travelers may need to be wary of sudden price increases by hotels and rental hosts, even after a reservation is confirmed. Booking.com said it would compensate consumers for the cost difference in such cases. Airbnb said hosts who tried to raise prices or cancel reservations after booking would face fees and penalties, and that the company would provide most guests with an instant credit to rebook immediately if their stay was canceled within 30 days after arrival.
Event Ticket Score
If you've already gotten tickets at reasonable prices, consider yourself lucky. Around seven million have been purchased since sales began almost a year ago on the official Paris 2024 ticketing website. But you can still take part in a variety of events, especially team sports in locations outside Paris, including football at the St.-Denis stadium with capacity for 80,700 people.
Tickets with prices between 90 and 250 euros are also maintained for volleyball, handball, archery, badminton and weightlifting, mainly for competitions without medals.
But blockbuster sports have become almost inaccessible, unless you're willing to splurge. Tickets for events such as gymnastics and diving are currently not available on the official website. Prices exceeded 600 euros before the available blocks ran out.
Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, has defended the prices and said that tickets are cheaper than those for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
New ticket packages are released from time to time and organizers urge visitors to check the website frequently or sign up for alerts. More spots will be available on April 17, when the official, and only authorized, resale platform for ticket holders goes online.
However, at the moment, much of the only remaining access to ultra-high-demand events is through On Location's pricey “hospitality packages,” with options like men's trampoline tickets from €695 and access to the opening ceremony ranging between €5,000 and €9,500. per person.
On Location offers a “wide variety” of packages, said Will Whiston, the company's executive vice president for Olympic and Paralympic Games, adding that its prices were “in line with previous Games and, in some cases, lower than them.” .
How to get to Paris and its surroundings
Round-trip airfares to Paris are already starting to increase. Nonstop flights on Expedia.com from New York to Paris cost about $1,300 the weekend before the Olympics, up from an average of $1,000 last summer. Travelers can generally get the best airfare by booking 60 days in advance. But “prices are expected to increase as travel dates approach, so it's smart to book sooner rather than later,” said Hudson, the Expedia travel expert.
If you're willing to travel light, consider using a discount airline like French Bee, which flies round-trip from New York to Paris-Orly Airport for $975, with no checked baggage, or Icelandair, which requires a stopover in Reykjavik, starting at about $800 round trip, also without checked luggage. Another option is to fly to an alternative airport, either in France or a nearby country such as Belgium, Great Britain or Germany, and take a train.
Once in Paris, get ready to move. Olympic organizers want to reduce the carbon footprint of the Games and areas of the city will be closed to cars. Organizers are prioritizing walking, biking and public transportation.
While Metro prices are increasing to €4 per trip, tourists can purchase a Paris 2024 pass that costs €16 per day, or €70 per week, allowing travel throughout the Île-de-France region, even to and from Charles de Gaulle and Orly. airports.
Paris has added about 55 miles of new bike lanes to the more than 270 miles already created in the city, encouraging visitors to use them. Velib's rental program is expanding to add 3,000 more bikes to the current fleet of 22,000.
Despite all the potential problems, Estanguet, head of the organizing committee, has promised that the Games will be worth the trip. “Let me convince you to come, because this moment is unique,” he said. “You won't see him again and you won't be disappointed.”
News USA Today has a skilled online editor and content writer, boasting six years of experience in Media and Broadcasting. News, Finance, Sports, Travel, and Entertainment.