all the key venues and the best places to stay

When the sun shines and the hordes roll in, Paris comes into her own, wooing visitors with mega-museums, sweeping avenues and sprawling gardens, before giving them the intimate treatment in tiny bistros and cosy Seine-side galleries — which is great news for the Olympics, when millions of visitors will cram the capital. You’ll want the thrill of the crowds, but you’ll also want to escape them; and Paris will let you do both.

The Games will take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024 (though Rugby Sevens kicks off July 24), followed by the Paralympics, from August 28 to September 8. All draws have now ended, so it’s first come, first served for all the remaining tickets for both events.

The upcoming games mark the centenary of the Paris 1924 Olympics — it was the last time the Games were held in the city, and was the same year it invented an enduring fixture: the Olympic Village. This time, Paris will make its mark on the Games by introducing new disciplines like breakdancing, skateboarding, climbing and surfing.

The Games will take place in over 30 settings in and around the city, including temporary, open-air arenas by Paris monuments, time-honoured stadiums such as Roland Garros and purpose-built centres in the suburbs such as the Centre Aquatique Olympique, an ultra-modern swimming venue in Saint-Denis connected by a footbridge to the Stade de France.

A few competitions (notably football, basketball, handball and sailing) will take place in other French cities, including Lille, Marseilles, Nice and Bordeaux. Only surfing fans will have to go further afield — to Teahupo’o in Tahiti. Here is our guide for the latest on ticketing, packages, getting around and where to stay.

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The venues

Stade de France: rugby

In the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, this 80,000-seater behemoth is France’s biggest stadium. Built in 1998 for the Fifa World Cup, it has hosted other major sports events including the 2003 Athletics World Championships and Uefa Euro 2016, and concerts by stars such as Beyoncé.

Stade de France was the venue for the final of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and it’ll be rugby that kicks off the Olympics here too (starting two days before the official opening), with the rugby sevens men’s and women’s tournaments (July 24 to 30). After that, it’s over to the athletics (August 2 to 11) and the para athletics (August 30 to September 7), followed by the para marathon on September 8.

Where to stay A room in Saint-Denis would be practical (it’s where the Olympic Village will be), but it’s not the best-looking area. Plus, Saint-Denis is so well-connected to Paris (by RER train lines B and D, and Métro lines 12 and 13), it would be a shame not to go somewhere prettier — like the Gare du Nord district, with its Haussmann charm, Eurostar terminal and a direct line to the stadium. Try the hip 25Hours Hotel Terminus Nord opposite the station. It’s got vintage-chic rooms and a cool Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar.

Eiffel Tower Stadium: beach volleyball and blind football

Eiffel Tower Stadium is set to be one of the Olympics’ most photogenic sports courts — a temporary, open-air, 12,800-seater stadium on the Champs de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower as its striking backdrop. The vast, tree-lined park is no stranger to big crowds — it’s here that the Bastille Day firework displays are held and where football fans often watch World Cup matches on giant screens. For the Olympics, beach volleyball will take centre stage (July 27 to August 10), followed by blind football during the Paralympics (August 30 to September 7).

Where to stay You’ll find Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadéro in a handy spot by the Trocadéro Métro station (direct to the venue on line 6), and just a 15-minute walk away. Rooms have a Seventies’ chic vibe, and some have balconies, with views of the Eiffel Tower. There’s also a rooftop bar.

Roland Garros Stadium: tennis and boxing

West of the city by the leafy Bois de Boulogne, the mere sight of this venerable stadium’s red clay courts is enough to fill most tennis fans with joy. All the greats have competed here, from Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert to Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams, and it’s still the home of the French Open. The Games’ tennis competitions will take place here from July 27 to August 4, with wheelchair tennis from August 30 to September 7, and so too will the boxing finals (August 6 to 10).

Where to stay Hôtel Molitor Paris, just across the street, was once a renowned art deco swimming complex (the bikini was born here in 1946). Today it’s a modish, artsy hotel with a hip brasserie, a Clarins spa and big indoor and outdoor pools that whisk you back to the 1930s.

Château de Versailles: cross-country riding and modern pentathlon

Southwest of the city, this must be the Games’ most grandiose setting — a temporary arena amid the sprawling, geometric lawns of the Sun King’s former palace. To one side, the vainglorious château; to the other, the emerald stretch of Le Nôtre’s sumptuous grounds; in the middle, a rather pretty space for eventing, dressage and jumping (July 27 to August 6). The grounds will also be used for cross-country riding (July 28) and the modern pentathlon (August 8 to 11).

Where to stay Versailles is a 40-minute train or RER ride from central Paris, so it makes sense to stay overnight. If you do, you’ll be hard-pushed to get closer to the palace than at the Louis Versailles Château (on the site of Napoleon III’s former military barracks), complete with sauna and cocktail bar.

Grand Palais: fencing and taekwondo

This whopping, glass-roofed masterpiece (built for the 1900 Paris Exposition) is set between the Champs-Élysées and the Seine, and flaunts a 240m-long nave made with 6,000 tonnes of steel — more than the Eiffel Tower. It’s known for art exhibitions, but sports events are held here too, including the international Saut Hermès showjumping competition. Closed for renovations, the Notre-Dame will reopen in time for the Games to host fencing (July 27 to August 4) and taekwondo (August 7 to 10), followed by para taekwondo (August 29 to 31) and wheelchair fencing (September 3 to 7).

Where to stay The Grand Palais is very central (on Métro lines 1 and 13), so you don’t have to limit yourself to the area, which is known for its high prices. Métro hop to La Fantaisie in the villagey 9th arrondissement, with artsy rooms, a big (for Paris) garden and a chic rooftop. It’s also by Galeries Lafayette and Printemps departments stores, for some pre- or post-Games retail therapy.

Paris La Défense Arena: swimming and water polo

Compared to the rest of Paris, the high-rise business district of La Défense looks space-age and the aesthetic continues at this white, concrete, Christian de Portzamparc-designed stadium, shaped like a futuristic whale (its outer envelope of glass and aluminium screens resemble rows of giant teeth). The Rolling Stones baptised it in 2017, and it’s home to the Racing 92 rugby union club, so both music and rugby get good coverage. For the Olympics, it’ll morph into a vast pool complex for swimming (July 27 to August 4) and water polo (August 5 to 11), then para swimming (August 29 to September 7).

Where to stay Just two Métro stops away is Mama Shelter Paris La Défense, an ideal option with bright funky rooms (many of which have sweeping city views), a steakhouse and an American-style sports bar with TV screens for catching up on events.

Bercy Arena: basketball and gymnastics

This gigantic, grass-covered pyramid in the 12th arrondissement is a multi-sports venue opened in 1984 and used for all sorts of events, from basketball and handball to tennis and motocross. Big-name music stars frequently grace its mega-stage too, making it one of Paris’ most popular entertainment venues. For the Olympics, up to 15,000 spectators will cram the seats to see basketball (July 27 to August 10) and gymnastics (July 27 to August 5), followed by wheelchair basketball during the Paralympics (August 29 to September 8).

Where to stay Inside the block-shaped “head” of one of architect Jean Nouvel’s ultramodern glass-fronted twin towers (just across the Seine from Bercy, in the 13th arrondissement), rooms at the new Too Hotel Paris come with breathtaking vistas over the city’s steely rooftops — as does its Skybar, set a lofty 120m (400ft) off the ground, with an outdoor terrace.

Parc des Princes: football

Known for its brutal concrete structure and excellent acoustics, the 48,000-seater home of the Paris Saint-Germain football club used to be France’s biggest stadium until the Stade de France came along. But it’s still impressive. During the Games, it will host men’s and women’s football matches every few days, from kick-off on July 24 to the finals on August 9 (men) and 10 (women).

Where to stay Set by the Périphérique (the Paris ring road), the stadium is not in the best area for hotels, but the Ibis Styles 16 Boulogne (just a seven-minute walk away) has bright, functional rooms and is a stone’s throw from Porte de Saint-Cloud Métro station, which takes you to the centre (including the Champs Élysées) on line 9 in under 15 minutes.

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How can I get tickets for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics?

Tickets to the Olympics are available in real time, exclusively via the official Paris 2024 website. Many sports have already sold out, but others—such as tennis and volleyball—are back on sale, along with tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies (tickets prices in Paris currently start at €100 for boxing and go up to €2,700 for the opening ceremony). The maximum number of purchasable tickets is four to 20 depending on the sport or ceremony session, with a total amount of 30 tickets per account (you can sign up and open an account on the website).

Sales for the Paralympics are also on a first-come, first-served basis with both single tickets and special offers. These include a Family Offer, which allows you to buy up to two children’s tickets for €10 for every two adult tickets purchased (excluding the ceremonies), and two Discovery Passes (one for central Paris, the other for southern Paris, both costing €24), allowing access to three to seven sports events in the same day, depending on the pass.

What are the best tour packages and when should I book?

For the first time, all packages are being sold via a single provider called On Location. There are still a few to choose between, with prices currently starting at €85 for race walking and rising to €9,500 for the opening ceremony. For the Paralympics, prices range from €125 for Athletics to €2,400 for the opening ceremony, which will be taking place on Place de la Concorde.

Olympics Hospitality Packages will guarantee seating and priority access to your choice of events and (in Paris) provide access to special lounges, including Clubhouse 24, a multidisciplinary hub (in the Palais de Tokyo in the 16th arrondissement) offering food, drink and entertainment, including concerts and meet-and-greet sessions with athletes. All remaining packages are available according to discipline, with the main difference being ticket category, type of food, drink and service, and access to entertainment.

Travel packages are available for one to six-night stays in three to five-star hotels. They include tickets (including bundle possibilities), hotel accommodation and (in some cases) city transport. They also include admission to hospitality spaces, such as the Salon 24 in the 18th-century Maison de l’Amérique Latine, where you’ll have access to food, drink and interactive activities. Packages can be customised with add-ons (think dinner in the Louvre museum, wine-tasting by the Seine or cocktails on the Eiffel Tower) by calling 0033 805 081 230.

For the Paralympics, there are two types of package: Fan Kit (€125 plus ticket price), which includes pre-event activities, gift bags and take-away snacks; and Lounge (€250, plus tickets), offering access to a shared lounge with TV screens and direct views of the events, plus a buffet meal, drinks and gifts. Extras can also be added by calling +33 805 081 230.

How can I enjoy Paris if I haven’t got a ticket?

For a handful of the outdoor events, such as the marathon, triathlon, rowing, open water swimming and even the opening ceremony, parts of the route will be visible to non-ticket holders along the streets, bridges and riverbanks — though you might have to sharpen your elbows and crane your neck to get a glimpse. You may need a Games Pass to get close enough.

Twenty-five free fan zones will also be set up across the city with refreshment stands and giant screens for watching the events. The main ones will be at Trocadero (opposite the Eiffel Tower), in Parc de la Villette and in front of the Hôtel de Ville.

The city’s summer festivals are now taking place either before the opening ceremony or in the gap between the Olympics and the Paralympics. But it’ll be business as usual for the museums and attractions throughout the summer — so there will still be plenty to do.

What is a Games Pass? Do I need one? And where do I get it?

A Games Pass (Pass Jeux) is a QR code for anyone aged 13 or over looking to access the secured areas (often spanning several streets) around event venues and along the Seine for the Opening Ceremony. These security zones have been colour-coded black, blue, red and grey, but as a visitor, you will probably only be affected by the grey and red zones.

If you’re on foot, bicycle, scooter, skateboard or cargo bike, you will only need a pass for the grey perimeter along the opening ceremony sites between 1pm, July 18-26 (the moment when the area will open for opening ceremony ticket holders).

If you plan to travel by vehicle (including motorbikes or taxis), you will also need the Games Pass for the red zones, and the police may ask you to justify your presence in the area, for instance, with proof of your hotel or apartment reservation. You’ll find maps of the affected areas, on the Paris Tourist Website.

Passes may not be distributed quickly, so you should apply online well in advance. In addition to ID, depending on the required pass (red or grey zones), you may also need to provide details such as your vehicle registration number and a copy of the registration certificate.

How do I get around Paris?

During the Games, a handful of metro and tram stations will be closed (like Concorde and Champs Elysées Clémenceau, and tram stop Porte de Versailles), and some bus routes will be diverted, but other than that, Paris’ public transport system will be up and running.

If you plan to grab a cab, know this: only classic taxis (like G7 and Alpha) have the authorisation to use the Olympics Lanes (designated lanes and roads in and around the city — notably its péripherique, ring road, and sections of motorway — to speed up transit, especially between the centre and the airports). Ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Heetch, will have to use the same lanes as the general public.

Cycling may well prove to be the fastest mode of transport. The Vélib self-service bikes will be available as usual, with an extra 3,000 in circulation during the Games. Or if you’d rather someone else do the peddling, Heetch Bike is a fleet of tuk-tuk-style electric cargo bikes with drivers.

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