How to Survive in Paris During the 2024 Olympics

The most anticipated sporting event is just one month away, and it's taking place in the most visited city in the world: Paris.

In addition to the picturesque streets, fragrant cafes and cyclists, the French capital will be bustling with spectators, with more than 15 million people arriving for the Paris Games.

In addition to this, there are locals and other French residents travelling to the capital from across the country.

Paris can be a tough city for the uninitiated: Recently, the city has faced a host of problems, including a bedbug infestation, a dengue fever scare, petty crime, and public transport worker strikes.

Given the dual popularity of the Olympics and Paris, surviving (and thriving) in this city can feel like a daunting task: Paris learned how to manage the huge crowds that flocked to Taylor Swift's Era Tour concerts earlier this year, but the Olympics and Paralympics will energize the city for a long time.

But don't worry.luck We spoke to experts in tourism, insurance, banking and culture to get their tips for having a great experience exploring the city.

Walking around

Passengers use the Paris subway
Passengers at a Paris metro station.

Jan Wojtas—Picture Alliance/Getty Images

Like any big city, Paris is notorious for its traffic problems, and ahead of the Olympics some of the city's most congested roads will be closed off and taxis restricted.

“The biggest pitfall is traffic. It's very difficult to find your way, which is why a perfectly centrally located hotel is key,” said Jonathan Alder, founder of travel management company Jonathan's Travels.

“This level of congestion will pose a challenge for Paris, especially when it comes to traffic and congestion. For guests willing to pay for the premium hospitality package, they have devised a workaround: special traffic lanes that are only available to certain vehicles,” Alder said. luck.

If you plan to visit other parts of France before arriving in Paris, they are urged to avoid flying through Paris' major airports, such as Charles de Gaulle or Paris-Orly.

Taxis (marked with a “taxi” sign on the bonnet) are an option, but public transport remains the best way to get around the city. Road and station closures may mean some routes are unavailable, so the RATP and Public Transport Paris 2024 apps can help you get real-time updates on service updates. Also, keep an eye out for any protests in the area you're heading to. Don't forget to leave plenty of time for delays.

Other safe alternatives include carpooling, renting a bike (a Vélib pass might help), or exploring the area on foot.

In addition to taxi rides, Uber will also offer free ferries across the Seine from July 12 to August 3.

Beware the Euro

Person taking euros out of bag
It's a good idea to have some euros (but not too many) on hand.

Andrzej Rosztek—Getty Images

When you're in Paris, be careful how and where you take and put money in and out. It's a habit of tourists to exchange the local currency for their home currency to get better deals on shopping and dining. What does that mean? It means that exchange rates fluctuate every day, even if only by a small percentage, and it can become expensive to use your home currency if you're not careful.

In a report on preparations for the Paris Olympics, London-based fintech company Wise said to always have some euros on hand (but not too many), to only transact in euros even if your credit card machine suggests you pay in another currency, and to avoid airport and hotel currency exchange offices, which artificially charge inflated fees.

“Airports and hotels cater to a fixed clientele and their currency exchange services reflect that.

“Fees are high and interest rates are low,” the report said.

Other suggested tips include having back-up payment options in case your main card fails, and checking whether your bank in your home country has an affiliate in France that will cover some of the transaction fees.

There's one more thing you need to be careful of when walking around Paris: pickpockets.

“An increase in tourists in a city can lead to an increase in petty crime and scams targeting tourists,” said Johannes Thomas, CEO of Germany-based travel platform Trivago, citing “friendship bracelet scams” at tourist attractions such as the Sacré-Coeur.

“Avoid displaying valuables or cash that may attract negative attention, and especially avoid street performers and street games. [ones] When money is involved, it often becomes a planned distraction for pickpockets.”

Better safe than sorry

Man standing with mobile phone in hand, pocket pickpocketed
Beware of pickpockets.

Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

No matter where you go in Paris, there's no easy way to escape the crowds, so it's probably best to embrace it, Thomas said.

“Expect crowds, long queues and service disruptions at popular attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Price increases are also expected. Prices for accommodation, food and transport tend to rise during major events. Tourists may see significant price increases, especially in hotels and short-term rentals in central Paris,” he added.

Planning a trip during peak travel season brings with it frequent uncertainties: delays, last-minute cancellations, lost luggage, etc. It can be difficult to prepare for each of these scenarios, but travel insurance is key to giving you more control over your trip.

Rajeev Shrivastava, founder and CEO of travel and health insurance marketplace VisitorsCoverage, said there are three main risks people can face while traveling: financial, medical and travel. luck.

“people [who] “People who take these trips are making a significant investment, including the cost of tickets and accommodation,” Shrivastava said.

Risks like sudden cancellations, sweltering summer heat, and rampant petty crime can add unnecessary stress to a long-awaited trip, which is where travel insurance comes in. Travel insurance eases the burden on travelers and protects them from unexpected losses.

“Most policies cover many of these events,” Shrivastava said, adding that insurance is a tool people consider with varying degrees of seriousness depending on how far they plan to travel.

Another way to ensure safety is for travellers to have an emergency contact number they can contact, Shrivastava said.

“Let your family know [or] “Who you trust and who you trust, where you are, where you travel, what mode of transportation you use, it's up to you,” he said.

When in France… why not be French?

Woman standing with the Eiffel Tower behind her, holding a croissant close to her face
It's time to brush up on your French skills.

Westend61—Getty Images

Traveling around Paris is not just about catching the right bus or staying in the right neighborhood. It's also about absorbing the culture and immersing yourself in the city as much as possible. Noel Wolff, language teacher and cultural expert at language learning platform Babbel, believes that learning a few basic phrases can make all the difference.

“Being able to communicate in the local language is not only important for fostering cultural connections, but also for keeping travelers safe during large, stressful events like the Olympics,” Wolf said.

Brushing up on your French will also help you feel more at ease when asking for directions or for help. According to a survey by Babbel, people tend to regret not knowing the local language, which adds to the stress of traveling.

“Travellers should also familiarize themselves with Paris' geography and public transport system so that in the event of an emergency or if they get separated from their travelling companions, they will have a rough idea of ​​where they are in the city and can get directions to get home,” Wolf said.

Other etiquette tips, such as saying “bonjour” and keeping your voice low in restaurants, are also helpful to remember.

Now you are all set for summer in Paris. Have a safe trip. As the French say, Have a nice trip!

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