All the ways visitors to the Paris Olympics could be duped this summer

An estimated 16 million tourists are expected to visit Paris this summer as the host city for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, visitors to one of the world's most visited cities are already encountering inflated prices and scams aimed at taking advantage of the increased numbers of tourists. Here are some scams and price gouging to watch out for this summer:

Rising subway fares

Transport passes are available for those travelling to Paris for the Olympics (Photo: halbergman)
Transport passes are available for those travelling to Paris for the Olympics (Photo: halbergman)

Earlier this year, the Paris transport authority (RATP) announced fare increases for public transport during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Between July 20 and September 8, the price of a one-way metro ticket will increase from €2.15 (£1.82) to €4 (£3.39), while city bus tickets will double from €2.50 (£2.12) to €5 (£4.23).

Île-de-France government officials said the increase would help cover the costs of providing extra transport services in the city to meet growing demand.

A Paris Pass will be on sale for visitors attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The pass is similar to a weekly commuter pass and can be used for up to 7 days. It costs 16 euros (13.78 GBP) per day or 70 euros (60 GBP) per week. The pass can be purchased at the ticket windows or ticket offices of Paris Métro/Paris RER/Transilien stations, as well as at the automatic ticket machines.

Increase in admission fees to tourist attractions

The price of admission to the Eiffel Tower for adults increased by €6 this year (Photo: Alexander Spatali)
The price of admission to the Eiffel Tower for adults increased by €6 this year (Photo: Alexander Spatali)

General admission tickets to the Louvre, the world's most visited art museum, have risen in price by almost 30% this year to 22 euros (19 pounds), the first increase in seven years from 17 euros (14.39 pounds).

The price increase is not specifically aimed at Olympic visitors, but is said to be essential to support free admission for some categories of visitors, such as art history teachers and visitors under 18 from the EU. The increase is also designed to offset an 88% increase in energy costs and extended opening hours, according to the museum. The Louvre is expected to welcome 8.9 million visitors in 2023, a third of whom will be French nationals. Six in 10 French visitors entered the museum for free, according to the museum's statistics.

In June, the Eiffel Tower's adult admission price was increased by 20 percent, or 6 euros (£5.08), to 35 euros (£29.62). French media reports blamed the price increase on a decline in tourism between 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic, with the tower's revenue reportedly falling by 113 million euros (£96 million) over those two years. Increased maintenance costs were also cited as a reason for the price hike.

Restaurant “Tips”

Some restaurants have reportedly inflated tips and service charges. (Photo: Alexander Spatali)
Some restaurants have reportedly inflated tips and service charges. (Photo: Alexander Spatali)

In Paris, it's customary to give a discretionary tip of around 5-10% (maximum) if you've received particularly good service. This is in addition to the restaurant's legally required 15% service charge, and restaurant menus are usually priced to supplement staff wages.

But there are reports that some restaurants in the city are encouraging customers to leave significantly larger tips, following a practice that may be common in their home countries but not in France.

For example, US visitors are likely to be targeted because of the strong tipping culture and the common practice of “paying for meals in advance” for prospective low-income customers in the US. Some restaurants have high tipping rates preset on the card terminals they use to collect the bill after the meal.

Visitors to Paris should also be aware of a rise in fake and misleading reviews about restaurants.

Accommodation prices rising

Tourist tax rates in Paris have increased this year, with the biggest hike applying to stays in designated “palace” hotels. In these luxury residences, the tax has risen to €14.95 (£12.65) per night – an increase of almost 200% from the 2023 rate of €5 (£4.23).

For five-star hotels, the nightly rate will increase by 186% to €10.73 (£9.08) (compared to the 2023 rate of €3.75), while for four-star hotels it will increase by 182% to €8.13 (£6.88) from the 2023 rate of €2.88. For one-star hotels, holiday villages, guest rooms and hostels, the new rate is a more modest €2.60 (£2.20), but still more than double the 2023 rate of €1 (85p).

In addition to the tourism tax hike, base hotel rates have also risen: the Paris Tourism Board reports that hotel rates this summer will be 314% higher than in the summer of 2023. But there are signs that prices are starting to fall to fill empty rooms.

According to the Paris Tourism Board, the average nightly rate for a hotel in Paris was 169 euros (143.05 pounds) in July 2023, but is expected to rise to 699 euros (591.78 pounds) this July.

As the Olympics approach, an oversupply of accommodation could push prices down. world As of late May, there were about 145,000 properties available for rent citywide this summer, well above the 65,000 available for rent in the summer of 2023, potentially outstripping demand from foreign tourists. But hotel prices in Paris during the Olympics are still 95% higher than they will be for the same period in 2023, according to Lighthouse data.

Accommodation fraud

The surge in tourists visiting Paris this summer has led to an increase in fake online hotel reviews and fraudulent accommodation listings.

Negative reviews will be removed, and misleading reviews and listings include extra stars on the average rating, opaque pricing information, fake photos, and inaccurate descriptions such as mass-produced processed foods labeled as “homemade breakfast.”

The DGCCRF (the Ministry of Economy's consumer affairs department) also identified advertisements for false offers, such as “fictitious airport transfer services.”

The department has reviewed thousands of reviews to ensure the information presented to visitors is accurate.

Visitors should also be wary of fake accommodation listings that are designed to collect payment information and other personal information. Travelers are advised to use well-known, reputable booking platforms and check the booking site URL to ensure it is not an imitation of a genuine booking service.


Paris authorities are cracking down on Olympic counterfeits (Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP)
Authorities in Paris are stepping up enforcement to ensure only official merchandise, such as the Friguet mascot, is sold (Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP)

Paris authorities have been cracking down on the sale of counterfeit Olympic goods and clothing in the city, with the DGCCRF working to ensure that the products on sale are “not dangerous or counterfeit.” As well as physical sales, scammers are using fake online and social media ads and platforms to sell counterfeit Olympic goods.

Taxi scams

Visitors should look out for authorised and licensed taxis (Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP)
Visitors should look out for authorised and licensed taxis (Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP)

Taxi scams are nothing new in Paris, but unscrupulous drivers are likely to take advantage of the increase in tourists ahead of the Olympics.

A common scam involves directing travelers to legitimate taxi queues outside Paris' Gare du Nord train station or the arrivals terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport, where drivers charge a ride into the city centre significantly more than the legitimate fare.

Elsewhere in the city, some taxi drivers try to rip off tourists by taking unnecessarily long routes, so tourists are advised to use a reputable ride-sharing app and check the entire route in advance.

Fixed fares only apply between Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and the right bank – 56 euros (47 pounds) and 65 euros (55 pounds) on the left bank, or between Paris-Orly airport and the right bank – 44 euros (37 pounds) and 36 euros (30 pounds) on the left bank. Meter fares apply for all other journeys, so tourists should make sure the driver has activated the meter.

To identify a licensed taxi, look for the meter, a “Taxi Parisien” light on the roof, a parking meter on the rear luggage rack (showing the end of service time) and the taxi license plate on the right front fender. Be careful, though – there have been reports of fraudulent activity in licensed taxis.

Wi-Fi scams

Given the potentially high costs of data roaming, many travelers rely on free public Wi-Fi networks.

However, scammers and hackers can use or set up free public Wi-Fi networks to steal personal information from web users.

Visitors should avoid using unsecured networks, especially when using online banking services or logging into personal accounts.

Instead, visitors are advised to install a VPN for such purposes before traveling, and to only use trusted networks provided by their accommodation or official Olympic venues.

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