Last Minute Tips for Travelers to the Paris Summer Olympics

Millions of spectators are expected to visit the Paris Summer Olympics, which run from July 26 to August 11. Overcrowding is a factor, and most hotel prices are expected to be higher than usual.

But with some guidance and common sense tips, there are ways to make the most of the situation, even at the last minute.

For example, Hopper put together a helpful Summer Olympics travel guide. Here are some of their findings:

  • Flights to Paris: $947 round trip, down 2% from last year
  • Hotels: The average price for a four-star hotel on the Hopper app is around $400, while three-star hotels are as cheap as $200.
  • Paris increases transport ticket prices one week before the Olympics and four weeks after it ends, so if you plan to arrive at the start of this period, it might be wise to come on July 18th or 19th and buy a ticket or week pass at the regular price.

A wise suggestion:

— By now, flights to Paris are likely sold out for your key dates, but many European airports offer cheaper flights that can be reached by train or bus into Paris. If you're flying to another European city, you can fly into Paris by train, or take a train through the tunnel from London.

— At the moment, many of Paris' hotels will be fully booked during peak Olympic weeks, so you may not be able to stay within walking distance of the Olympic venues you'll be attending. However, that may not be a bad thing, as booking a hotel in Paris at the moment will be expensive and the city center will be crowded.

— Good alternative: Many neighborhoods outside Paris have easy access to the city by metro. Before booking, find out which metro/bus lines go to the venue and choose a hotel near the line.

— To save money and give yourself more time for your event, choose a hotel that serves a full breakfast so you can stay until an early dinner. If not, consider having your main meal for lunch.

— Wear comfortable shoes and walk whenever possible. Not only will it save you money and exercise, it might also save you time and hassle.

— If you are using public transport, please allow extra time for busy times and traffic jams. Regular schedules may be subject to change.

— Cyclists can enjoy more than 60 kilometres of specially created cycle routes connecting all Olympic venues, with dedicated signage and 3,000 new Velib bikes added to Paris' fleet, and 1,300 new Velib parking spaces installed near the venues.

— Carry proof of identity and temporary address, as you may need it to travel certain restricted roads or attend special events. Make sure you carry copies of your passport and important documents, and be wary of pickpockets as they tend to lurk in crowds.

— Ironically, despite the crowds, this may be the best time to visit places other than the Olympic venues, when most tourists are focused on the games. Quieter hours are a pleasant alternative. And Paris is home to some of the world's finest parks, museums, and cafes.

Check out my award-winning travel podcast. Leah Lane and the Place of MemoriesYou can listen to podcasts anywhere, so YouTube ChannelPlaces of Memory: Travel Talks with Lee Lane.

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