How to get cheap tickets to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics


Spoiler alert: the City of Lights will not be the only host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Strictly speaking, it's not a secret. Yet most people don't know that the Olympic Agenda, released last October, declared that “the Olympic Games no longer have to be held in one major city, but can be distributed across several cities, regions, or even countries.” Why decentralize? Because it's much more sustainable, since fewer venues would need to be built. But wait, there's something even better: it would also make watching the Olympics cheaper.

For example, in three weeks, my childhood best friend Katie will be traveling with me to Marseille to watch the men's and women's soccer (tickets start at $16) and sailing (hospitality packages start at $350). Marseille is one of 17 cities and municipalities across France that will host Olympic competitions from July 26 to August 11; meanwhile, surfing competitions will be held in French Polynesia (Tahiti, to be exact). Katie and I love Paris, the main Olympic host city, but we just visited in 2021. This year, the Côte d'Azur is calling, and in a surprising twist we never expected, we can afford to go there.

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Despite an 80% year-on-year increase in searches, according to Booking.com, there are still plenty of comfortable hotel rooms in Marseille for under $300 a night, a price range that's currently hard to find in Paris. For example, rates for the four-star NH Paris Champs-Élysées start at $600 a night at the end of July. Meanwhile, we just booked a room at the NH Collection Marseille for $215 a night. This was after we'd imagined plenty of attractive accommodations on AirBnB.

Courtesy of Hotel Belles Rive


Splurge big and head east along the gorgeous French Riviera at Hotel Belles Rive (from $600 a night). This five-star, Art Deco beachfront property is where F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly partied with Ernest Hemingway and boasts one of the oldest waterski schools in the world. Spend the cash on lessons and maybe you'll find yourself a natural talent/surefire when the Olympic Committee adds waterskiing to the sport. Then, take the train to nearby Nice to watch the U.S. women's soccer team take on Zambia. Tickets start at just $16. Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes will also host Olympic soccer matches, including the men's quarterfinals (tickets from $70) and the women's third-place playoff (tickets from $38).

If you're splurge- ing on a Paris hotel and can't get all the tickets to your favourite matches, check out the hotel's programme: Hotels such as the luxurious Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris are hosting viewing parties for their guests.

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If you're most looking forward to the equestrian events, vacation in Versailles. You won't find a room at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace for under $1,400 a night. But AirBnB still has a few apartments around Versailles available from $100 a night. The only equestrian-related tickets left on the official Paris2024.org website are hospitality packages available from $1,200, while Ticombo has sessions available from $84. But remember, buying from a reseller always comes with a risk.

If basketball is your lifelong dream, make Lille your base of operations. Both the men's and women's teams (tickets from $54) play in this Flemish city that borders Belgium. In fact, it's cheaper to stay in Brussels, just 38 minutes away on the Eurostar Express. Double rooms start at $257 at the Holiday Inn Express Lille Centre, while you can get a spacious king-size bed with a balcony at the Holiday Inn Brussels Schuman for just $137.

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If you're here to watch golf (tickets start at $26), you'll likely see Scottie Scheffler in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, where the men's and women's matches begin on August 1. Built in the 1960s and just 20 miles west of Paris, this newer Paris suburb also hosts indoor cycling events (tickets start at $194) in its 6,000-seat velodrome. One-bedroom apartments start at $100 a night, making AirBnB your best option.

But what about flights? These won't break the bank either. American Airlines, for example, offers direct flights from JFK to CDG round-trip starting at $765. From there, you can take a cheap train or flight to Bordeaux, Nice, Lille, Lyon, or Versailles. If you're joining us in Marseille, don't be a stranger, say hello (or Bonjour). We'll be two tourists dressed head to toe in Team USA gear.



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