Visiting Paris during the olympics

Visiting Paris During the Olympics: What to Know

With the Olympic Games taking place this summer and with plenty of disruption expected during the games and the weeks leading up to it, many are asking, is it worth visiting Paris during the Olympics? As a Paris local, I’ll be giving my personal take and will answer frequently asked questions regarding the mammoth event.

When are the Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games are taking place between Friday, 26th July – Sunday, 11th August this year. The Paralympic Games follow shortly after and will be held between Wedesday, 28th August – Sunday, 8th September.

You can expect disruption in the city from May up until end of September as stadiums, security infrastructure, viewing platforms and media facilities will be set-up and boundaries put in place. 

Will it Really Be Busier than Usual?

You might be wondering if it’s genuinely going to be busier than usual and unfortunately the answer is yes, it will be. Authorities are expecting to welcome over 15 million visitors for the games and that’s on top of the usual waves of tourists.

Summer in Paris is always busy (check out our guide to the best time to visit Paris) and given the rise in visitors, it will be noticeably busier. Many areas will be cordoned off and the Seine’s river banks will be closed for a month and half, this means there’ll be less public space available for more people.

That said, it’s worth noting that that many Parisians will flee the city during the Olympics to avoid the masses and to cash in on renting out their apartments on AirBnB. The month of August is also famous for being the month where Parisians go on vacation.

Where Should You Stay?

If you’re still looking for accommodation this summer then you’ll unfortunately be looking at extremely high prices. It’s reported that the average hotel price per night has gone up 300%. AirBnB’s are also seeing price rises up to 85% compared to normal with many Parisians renting out their flats for the Olympics.

I’d avoid staying in the central arrondissements of Paris as these will be expensive, incredibly busy and difficult to navigate around due to the security restrictions.

My personal advice is to stay in the outer arrondissements such as the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 20th.

Can You Still Access the Famous Monuments?

Yes, despite rumors on social media, pretty much all of the famous monuments in Paris remain open during the Olympics

The Eiffel Tower remains open during the Olympics except on the 26th July (the day of the opening ceremony).

The Louvre and the Arche de Triomphe also remain open during the games.

There will be additional security cordons in place around the famous Paris monuments and you’ll need to have prebooked tickets in advance to access them. 

You can prebook tickets in advance here.

What Will Change Compared to Normal?

The city will of course see some changes to accommodate the increase of visitors, athletes and game officials. So what exactly can you expect to change in the city?

High Levels of Security in the City

Security perimeters will be erected by local security around key areas in which competitions or the opening ceremony will occur. 

This will affect your ability to transit freely within the town as you will need a QR code to access red and blue areas during specific times (check out the 3 levels of security) proving you have purchased a ticket or are staying in this area. 

How will this affect those areas during the Games? 

There will be 3 levels of security within the center of Paris:

  • Black and grey perimeter: these areas will only be accessible to athletes or people with tickets to the competitions during the duration of the Olympics. No cars or motorcycles will be allowed within these areas.
  • Red perimeter: these areas surround the immediate vicinity of the competitions. Cars and motorcycles will not be able to circulate in these areas. Thankfully, the red perimeter will be only active daily from 2h30 before the first competition to 1h after the last one, meaning you’ll be able to take a cab outside of that timeframe. Pedestrians and cyclists will have to present a QR code to enter.
  • Blue perimeter: this area extends beyond the red perimeter during the same timeframe. Pedestrians and cyclists can circulate freely without presenting a QR code. Cars and motorcycles can enter this zone only with a legitimate reason to access an address within the zone (for example, if you are staying in this area or need to visit a sick relative).

Where are the Security Perimeters ?

Here are some of the areas where they with starting dates to have in mind if you want to visit:

  • Place de la Concorde: the stadium has been in construction since March, but the area is still accessible as of May 2024
  • Trocadéro, Eiffel tower, Champ-de-Mars park: the stadium has been in construction since March, but the area is still accessible as of May 2024
  • Grand Palais, Alexandre III bridge, Invalides area: the stadium has been in construction since mid-April
visiting Paris during the olympics security cordon
Image from the French Ministère de l’Intérieur

Les Quais (the Banks of the River Seine)

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will take place in the Quais around the center of the city, blessing visitors with the most iconic views. The infrastructure will be in construction from June onwards, and July for the bridges. On the downside, this means that the majority of the quayside will be inaccessible from mid-June onwards (grey zones), with some parts being inaccessible only during red perimeter times (2h30 before the first competition to 1h after the last competition each day). This means our favorite Bars on the Seine will be temporarily closed.

visiting Paris during the olympics quay side seine
Image from the French Ministère de l’Intérieur

Public Transport

If you’ve been to Paris before, you’ll know the public transport network is pretty efficient and allows you to go almost anywhere in the city in 40min max. However the Olympic Games will bring an unprecedented amount of visitors to this already busy city, meaning some metro and tram lines will be affected.

Closed metro stations:

  • Line 1:
    • “Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau” – from July 1st to September 21st 
    • “Concorde” & “Tuileries” – from June 17th to September 21st 
  • Line 8: “Concorde” –  – from June 17th to September 21st
  • Line 12: “Concorde” –  – from June 17th to September 21st
  • Line 13: “Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau” –  – from July 1st to to September 21st

Closed tramway stationsTramway T2: “Porte d’Issy” and “Porte de Versailles” – from July 25th to August 11th and from August 29th to September 7th 

  • Tramway T3a: “Porte de Versailles” – from July 25th to August 11th and from August 29th to September 7th
  • Tramway T3b: “Colette Besson” – from July 27th to August 10th and from August 29th to September 8th

Public transport lines to avoid:

The following public transport lines in the Île-de-France region will be the busiest during the Games as they will be serving most of the competition venues. Keep this in mind and try alternate routes whenever possible!

  • Metro: line 5, line 6, line 7, line 8, line 9, line 10, line 12, line 13 and line 14 
  • Tramway: T3a and T3b
  • Train: line J (towards Ermont-Eaubonne), line L (towards Versailles Rive Droite), line N, line P (towards Meaux) and line U
  • Regional trains: RER B, RER C and RER D lines

Check this interactive map to get a detailed look at how this will impact how you get around the town.

Can You Visit the Eiffel Tower During the Olympic Games?

Yes you can visit the Eiffel tower during the Olympic Games. It remains open apart from the 26th July where it’s closed for the Opening Ceremony.

So, Is It Worth Visiting Paris This Summer?

Despite what certain social media commentators are saying, I personally think it’s completely viable to visit Paris during the Olympics. If you don’t mind the crowds and a bit of queuing then visiting Paris this summer shouldn’t be a problem. That said, I’d advise the following:

  • Reserve restaurants in advance (especially popular restaurants such as Bistrot Paul Bert)
  • Prebook tickets for monuments
  • Visit lesser known areas such as Belleville and Bastille
  • Avoid taking public transport in the central arrondissements

If you’re worried about crowds, heat, queuing and full restaurants then I’d suggest visiting in September or October. 

Read more about Tips on Visiting Paris.

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