The 2024 Paris Olympics Insider Guide to Saving Money on Travel

The 2024 Paris Olympics are a few months away. And if you plan on watching the action in person, make travel plans now.

Here’s your guide to traveling to Paris, snagging tickets and saving money (including watching certain events for free).

How to purchase Paris Olympics 2024 tickets

Across all events, there are about 10 million tickets up for grabs, but purchasing tickets to certain events can be a challenging sport in itself. Some tickets on the official Paris Olympics 2024 website have already sold out.

More tickets will be released regularly in the weeks leading up to the events. As of mid-February, about 2 million tickets are either available for purchase or have yet to go on sale.

Prices vary depending on the event and specific seat. According to Paris 2024 event organizers, 45% of tickets sold directly through them cost less than 100 euros.

NerdWallet analyzed 125 ticket prices in mid-February for 13 sports where tickets were still available. While average ticket prices (based on the least expensive ticket within the venue) were 101 euros (about $109 at the time of writing) based on NerdWallet’s analysis, some sports are far cheaper. Golf had the lowest average ticket prices at 24 euros, or about $26.

Of the 13 available sports at the time of NerdWallet’s analysis, here were average ticket prices by sport, sorted by least expensive to most expensive:

  • Rugby Sevens: 63 euros. 

  • Weightlifting: 125 euros.

The Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place for the first time outside of a stadium. Instead, it’ll occur along the Seine. (Concept art courtesy of Paris 2024)

The most expensive Olympic ticket to purchase? As of mid-February, the opening ceremony. Although prices start at 90 euros, when we looked, the cheapest available ticket was 2,700 euros (about $2,925). There is a chance more tickets will be released in the future.

Hospitality and travel packages for the Olympics

If you’re willing to splurge, you might still be able to buy tickets to sold-out events with a hospitality or travel package sold through the official Paris 2024 site.

Hospitality packages are VIP tickets that include extras like access to an exclusive lounge with refreshments and your own hospitality support staff. Travel packages add a hotel room.

But they’re not cheap. For women’s artistic gymnastics, hospitality packages for qualification rounds start at 495 euros (about $540) as of mid-February. The cheapest available packages for women’s gymnastics all-around finals cost 3,750 euros (more than $4,000).

Can I buy Paris Olympics tickets on resale sites?

Buy tickets from third parties at your own risk. It might be best to wait until organizers launch their official resale platform, which is expected in spring 2024.

Free and affordable ways to watch the Olympics

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A map of the Olympic Marathon course.

Opt for sports that don’t require a ticket: Not every sport requires a ticket. For example, you could stand along the Olympic Marathon route, which weaves past spots like Hôtel de Ville (Paris’s city hall) and the Seine, for free. Even for a spot at the finish line stands, tickets are relatively affordable, starting at 24 euros (about $26).

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Concept art for one of the many celebration zones, where it’s free to watch the events on a large screen. (Concept art courtesy of Paris 2024)

Visit fan zones: Head to one of roughly 30 “celebration zones.” These free-to-visit venues at major sites around Paris will include giant screens streaming the events. Many are just outside the stadiums.

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Tickets for the Paralympic Games, such as the concept art for wheelchair rugby displayed here, can often be cheaper. (Concept art courtesy of Paris 2024)

Buy tickets for the Paralympic Games: Ticket prices for the Paralympic Games Paris 2024 are generally far lower. The least expensive tickets start at 15 euros (about $16).

Watch the opening ceremony for free: For the first time, the Summer Olympics opening ceremony will not take place in a stadium. Instead, the parade of athletes will be held on the Seine, offering a unique opportunity to stand along the water and watch without tickets.

Upper and lower quays, typically used as two tiers of walkways, border the Seine. While the lower quays will be blocked off to ticket holders, anyone can watch from the upper quays for free. Organizers expect hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Booking 2024 Paris Olympics accommodations

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The Paris Olympic venues are spread far and wide, so it can make sense to book lodging near the events you’ll watch.

Don’t wait to book, as hotels are filling up, and many are already sold out.

Even if you’re not entirely sure of your plans, consider booking now to lock in a rate with a flexible cancellation policy.

Prepare for inflated prices

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The Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Of the rooms that are still available, brace yourself for expensive rates. For example, the cheapest available room at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace during the night of the opening ceremony costs 1,947 euros (more than $2,100). Meanwhile, the same property costs 203 euros (about $220) on some nights in mid-March.

Consider vacation rentals

Consider nontraditional lodging if hotels are sold out (or just not your style). France is Airbnb’s second-largest market after the U.S., according to vacation rental analytics company AirDNA.

But just as hotels are seeing huge demand, so are vacation rentals. Demand for short-term rentals during the Paris Olympics is 156% higher than demand for the two weeks before the games and rates are 40% higher during the Olympics versus the two weeks prior.

Where should I stay?

Most of the action will occur in the heart of the city, so accommodations near tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower or Grand Palais can make sense. Major hotel chains that may be familiar to U.S. travelers such as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott have a high concentration of properties in the city center.

If you are planning on attending events at Olympic venues outside of Paris city limits, you can probably score more affordable lodging nearby. For example, average available nightly rates for vacation rentals in the suburbs are $302, according to data analyzed on Feb. 15 by AirDNA, compared to the $619 nightly rates within Paris proper.

Some locations aren’t anywhere near Paris. For example, the football tournament will be played at six stadiums throughout France: Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille. Check your event tickets to ensure you stay in the right city.

Getting to Paris for the 2024 Olympics

The region has a few other smaller airports, though they primarily serve budget airlines. If you book a budget airline, beware. Some budget European airlines are worth it given the steep discounts, but the extra fees can add up.

For example, your home airport might have cheap flights into London. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to fly into London and then hop on the train to Paris. The Eurostar route between London and Paris takes about two-and-a-half hours.

What are France’s entry requirements for Americans?

Tourist visas are not required in France for Americans staying 90 days or fewer. Vaccinations are not required.

Ensure your passport hasn’t expired. For U.S. travelers flying in Europe’s Schengen area (which includes France), your passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of your entry. If it’s not, renew your passport now.

Getting around Paris

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The Paris metro crosses Pont de Bir-Hakeim. (Photo by Getty Images)

Paris is relatively easy to navigate. The city center is walkable, so most tourists are better off skipping the rental car.

For spots too far to walk, public transit is generally reliable and more affordable than a taxi. For example, it costs just under 12 euros (about $13) to go from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris by train, but it costs between 56 and 65 euros ($60 and $70) by taxi.

As far as getting between venues, event organizers say they are working to increase public transport availability. Details are still to come, but plans include increasing capacity and adding shuttle buses between competition venues that are less easily accessible.

But French government officials have said prices for individual public transit tickets will temporarily rise between July 20 and Sept. 8. Valerie Pecresse, the president of the Île-de-France region, said in a video posted to social media that single metro journeys will temporarily cost 4 euros (up from the current price of 2.15 euros).

Tools such as Google Maps can help you navigate public transportation and walking directions. Even if you’ve skipped the international phone plan, you can still download offline maps.

Other ways to save money while in Paris

Understand tipping culture: Tipping in France is not expected, so you won’t need to budget for that additional 15%-20% tip at restaurants as you’d likely do in the U.S.

But it’s generally the norm to round up bills for restaurants, coffee shops and taxi rides (so you leave the change as a tip). Tips for workers such as tour guides and housekeeping are also generally appreciated.

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