All eyes will be on Paris in 2024, when the French capital hosts the 33rd Summer Olympic Games. The global sporting event, which runs from July 26 to Aug. 11, is expected to draw 10,500 Olympic athletes vying for some of the biggest accolades of their careers — and millions of spectators watching them do it.
The flow of sports fans into the city should create a very different spirit to the stripped-down experience of the last Summer Games, hosted by Tokyo in 2021, which was postponed a year because of the pandemic and saw athletes competing to almost empty stands because of Covid protocols.
In a further leap from Tokyo’s deserted scenes, Paris 2024’s opening ceremony will be the first in Olympic history to be held outside a stadium; the city instead is inviting the public to cheer on delegates on a flotilla of boats proceeding down a nearly four-mile route on the River Seine. Tickets will be sold for seating on the lower banks and other areas, but the upper banks will be free for the public to watch from.
After the Olympic Games, the athletic competition continues in Paris with the Paralympic Games, which will take place from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.
Considering making the trip to the City of Lights? Here’s what you need to know.
How do I buy tickets?
Ticket sales for the Paris Olympics’ almost 10 million spectator spots have already begun, but it’s not too late to snag some of your own.
Keep in mind that the Paris 2024 ticketing website is the only official platform for international spectators to purchase tickets, with prospective buyers warned that any other sites selling tickets are unauthorized and could be subject to cancellation.
The first phase of sales, in which some 3.25 million tickets were sold, ended in March.
If you missed that, don’t worry: There’s still time to enter the draw for the second phase of ticket sales, which closes on April 20 at 6 p.m. Central European Time. Successful entrants will be notified by email after May 9 and will be given a 48-hour slot to buy tickets to individual sporting events, as well as for seats to the opening and closing ceremonies. You can read the full ticketing guide here.
There are more than 750 events to choose from, so perusing the Paris 2024 calendar, seating plans and ticket prices ahead of booking is a good idea. Pricing will vary depending on the seating and event type (tickets for handball competitions, for example, range from 24 to 190 euros, or about $26 to $205; while tickets for track and field, which is listed as “athletics,” range from €24 to €980). It’s possible that some of the most popular events will have sold out.
Each registered account can buy a maximum of 30 tickets, with a maximum of six tickets per event, though some events will limit that number to four tickets.
Tickets to the Paralympic Games will go on sale on the Paris 2024 site this fall, with options including single tickets and day passes.
When should I book accommodation in Paris?
While some Paris hotels are already taking bookings for summer 2024, many don’t open their reservation calendars until about 400 days before the intended stay, or around July 2023.
That might be in part because they are still waiting to gauge commitments to the International Olympic Committee, its sponsors and other V.I.P.s, said Henry Harteveldt, the founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry research company based in the United States.
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Mr. Harteveldt also said to anticipate hotels and airlines raising prices around the time of the Games. “Be prepared for sticker shock,” he added.
Short-term rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO are already opening bookings for next summer. (Airbnb is an official partner of the Games, a pairing that has stoked displeasure from hoteliers in France, who have campaigned for more regulation against the rental giant.)
The demand for housing will likely boom closer to the Games, as more of the total 10 million tickets are snapped up.
Rob Stern, an independent travel adviser based in North Carolina, expects that “there will be a big scramble” for accommodation as more people secure tickets and once flight bookings open. He added that people would be wise to book hotel dates as early as possible.
With 35 sporting venues spread across the Paris, and a few events happening outside of the French capital, some attendees unbothered by a longer commute are opting to stay on the outskirts of the city to try save on costs. (The official site offers a map of the venues and estimates the travel time between each.)
“I would have a look to see where there are any smaller towns to get to the venue rather than booking directly in Paris,” said Val Stevens, 78, who will travel from West Yorkshire, England, to Paris next summer for her third Olympics. She is planning to stay with friends outside of the capital who live on a direct line into Paris.
When should I book my flights?
Airlines have not opened their flight schedules for summer 2024; some will begin offering them around 330 days before departure.
Travel experts warn that the cost of flights to Paris for summer 2024 could surge beyond flight prices to the French capital for this summer season, and to reserve as soon as possible.
“If you add the demand of the already popular summer destination that Paris is and you add an event to it — well, wow,” said Mr. Stern, the travel adviser, who said he had booked one economy trip from Kansas City to Paris, and Rome to Kansas City, for nearly $1,700. He said that travelers should consider being flexible with travel dates or consider low-cost carriers to try and save on costs.
He also suggested travelers consider flying into another European city before the Games, then travel to Paris from there.
“Fly into a London, a Brussels, an Amsterdam, a Munich — somewhere where you can get relatively easily from A to B and start your vacation in that city,” he said. “At least you’re in the region and hopefully you aren’t going to get clobbered with that last link with Paris.”
Can I book an all-inclusive package?
Yes, all-inclusive packages that combine accommodation, transport, tours and dining experiences with tickets to Olympic events are available. These can be purchased through the Paris 2024 Olympic Games’ official hospitality partner, On Location.
The packages are designed to offer travelers a “guaranteed consistent experience” built by the host committee, the host city and the Olympic Games, said Paul Caine, the president of On Location.
One option is a travel package, which lets people select their preferred level of service and Olympic sessions. Travel packages begin at €730 per person for one night at a three-star hotel and a ticket to an Olympic event, and go up to €27,150 per person for a six-night stay at a five-star hotel, with the package including dining, tours of Paris, six Olympic tickets, transfers and invitations to V.I.P. events. (Note that they do not include flights.)
A less comprehensive option is to buy a hospitality package, which allows people to skip the draw and buy tickets to individual sessions that include food and drink, access to exclusive lounges in between events and talks from Olympians, but not lodging. Costs vary but are much pricier than the basic individual tickets; a seat at the boxing finals in Roland-Garros Stadium, for example, starts at €950.
That package is what Ms. Stevens, the traveler from West Yorkshire, opted for, spending about 1,500 pounds, or about $1,842, for seats to two of the track and field finals and access to a lounge.
It was a lot of money, she said, but when she heard that Paris would host the Olympics, she thought it might be her last opportunity to attend. “I thought I’d regret it if I didn’t do it,” she said.
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