2024 is set to be a year of major sporting events. We can all look forward to the European Football Championshipsand the Copa America. But the year’s most important sporting event will take place on the banks of the River Seine. This July, the eyes of the entire sporting world will be on Paris as the XXXIII Olympic Summer Games get underway.

XXXIII Summer Olympic Games – everything you need to know 

The Olympic Games will begin on 26 July 2024 and last until 11 August 2024, with the French capital playing host to the majority of the competitions. However, some events will be held in other cities, with football being played  in Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon, Nice and Marseille. Meanwhile, handball and basketball will be played in Lille,surfers will compete on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia and sailors will take to the seas just off the coast of Marseille.

Man holding the Olympic flame © shutterstock
Man holding the Olympic flame © shutterstock

This year’s Olympic opening ceremony will break with tradition as it will not be held at the Stade de France, as is tradition, but on the River Seine! Representatives from each country will take to the water in boats with more than 10,000 competitors  sailing through the heart of the city. Fans will be able to watch this unusual ceremony from close up –  on the banks, bridges and nearby streets. Tickets are only sold on the lower waterfront. In the run-up to the parade, you can watch the athletes’ presentation completely free of charge.

The parade will cover six kilometres from the Pont d’Austerlitz, through the Jardin des Plantes, Île Saint Louis and Île de la Cité, under ten bridges and gates, to the Trocadéro, where the Opening Ceremony will come to an end.

How can I prepare for the Paris Olympic Games?

You can buy tickets for the individual competitions and the accompanying events on the official website of the Olympic Committee and through the various national federations. Tickets will be sold online after registration. Ticket prices depend on the chosen event and the level of competition, ranging from €24 to around €2,000. More popular events, such as athletics and boxing, are usually more expensive. Admission to the Opening Ceremony costs almost €2,000 euros – the most of any event.

If you are planning a trip to Paris for the Olympics, it’s advisable to start looking for accommodation now. Prices have already risen dramatically over the period of the Games. With that said, you may still be able to get a special deal or book accommodation in the Paris area, although not necessarily in the city itself. Consider which events you are going to and whether they are being held in the French capital or in another city.

Man does not live by sport alone

The Olympic Games are an excellent opportunity to plan a longer holiday in France. Not only will you be taking part in a major international event, but you can tie this in with some sightseeing. After all, sport is good for your health, so combine cheering on the athletes with time being active, walking and admiring the striking French host cities.

Why not plan your trip to follow the Olympic torch relay and visit the cities the flame has reached? We will tell you what to see in the three most popular cities that will be hosting the Olympic Games.

La Marais district in Paris © shutterstock
La Marais district in Paris © shutterstock

Undiscovered Paris 

We all know that the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are always crowded, and even more so during the Games! If you want something less well-known and less crowded, head to Le Marais. This former Jewish quarter is extremely colourful and full of fashionable boutiques, galleries and bars. You can still find kosher restaurants here and it is also home to the Pablo Picasso Museum, the Museum of Jewish Art and History, the Historical Library and the Paris History Museum.

The Belleville district is a living street art gallery. It is a real mecca for street art, full of colourful murals and independent art galleries and you can find works by both local and world-famous artists.

Père-Lachaise is also a fascinating place that often escapes the attention of tourists. The largest cemetery in Paris is the final resting place of many famous people, including Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. In Montmartre, the historic area of Paris, you’ll find less frequented corners. Instead of going down the main staircase to Sacré-Cœur Cathedral, head instead to the charming side streets with their secret shops and quaint cafes.

You may also come across street markets as you walk. One of the oldest, Rue Mouffetard, offers a wide range of fresh produce from all over France. Local cheeses and wines make particularly good souvenirs of your visit.

Old quarter of Marseille, La Panier © shutterstock
Old quarter of Marseille, La Panier © shutterstock

Marseille, the Pearl of the Mediterranean

The capital of Provence will be the arena for the Games’ sailing competitions and also  the starting point for the Olympic torch relay. But Marseille has much more to offer. The basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde sits on a hill overlooking the Old Port, which bustles with city life. Take a stroll along the waterfront, watch the colourful boats and sample local delicacies.

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Cultures has fascinating exhibits on the history of the region, and you can also admire the futuristic stone building that houses the museum. There is also a rooftop restaurant here serving French cuisine with stunning views over the Bay of Marseille, the Corniche and the Prado. The nearby Le Panier district is full of narrow streets, colourful buildings and small cafes – the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll and discover the local culture. While in Marseille, you can also take a short cruise to the Frioul Islands, an archipelago of four islands near the Old Port with many ruins of military fortifications.

Lille old town © shutterstock
Lille old town © shutterstock

Lille, home of Charles de Gaulle

Football fans will probably associate the name Lille with the club that recently won the French championship. Handball and basketball matches are also played here, however tourists don’t come here as often as to Paris or Marseille. But Lille is well worth a visit, especially if you want to experience a more intimate Olympic atmosphere. Start your tour at the Grand Place. This central square, surrounded by colourful Flemish tenements, is the perfect place to stroll, shop and soak up the local atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

People used to come here for health treatments; now they visit to learn about the city’s history. The former hospital and convent has been converted into the Hospice Comtesse Museum where you will find a collection of art, furniture and other everyday objects. You can also visit Lille’s fortifications and admire the beautiful gardens around the huge 17th century citadel. After a day of sightseeing, relax in the Bois de Boulogne. You can have a picnic and visit the zoo, the children’s playground or simply admire the picturesque ponds.



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