In this series, Lonely Planet’s team of writers and editors answers your travel problems and provides tips and hacks to help you plan a hassle-free trip. We asked our woman in Paris, Vivian Song, to field this query about the 2024 Olympics.
Question: We are planning a trip to Europe next summer and would love to get to the Olympics in Paris. Is it too late now to get tickets for any of the events?
Vivian Song: Scoring tickets to the world’s largest international sporting event of 2024 – which already promises to be one of the most innovative and groundbreaking editions in Olympic history – does require a lot of advance planning. And while the deadline for grabbing single tickets in the general lottery has already come and gone, don’t despair. There are other ways to participate.
When are the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games?
How do you get tickets?
For the first time, all tickets will be sold online through a single online portal. In the interest of fairness, Paris organizers decided to sell the bulk of tickets through a two-phase lottery system. In the first phase, which has now closed, buyers snapped up more than a third of the total number of tickets available.
Yet still leaves almost seven million tickets up for grabs. Registration for the second phase of the draw closed this month, and those whose names are drawn will be able to start buying single tickets beginning early May.
Does that mean I can no longer buy tickets?
Though details are sparse at this point, a third phase will start at the end of the year, when any remaining tickets will be up for grabs. The best way to keep up to date on ticketing news is to register an account on the main ticketing website and at Club Paris 2024, an online community for Olympic sports enthusiasts.
Keep in mind that ticket holders will also be able to resell their tickets (all of which are non-refundable) on a dedicated resale platform – so you’ll also want to keep an eye out for that.
The 3.4 million tickets for the Paralympic Games will go on sale later this fall.
How much are tickets?
Ticket prices vary according to category, sport and tournament round.
Though a million tickets are priced starting at €24, with half of tickets to the general public priced at €50 and under, expect to pay hundreds more for the most popular sporting events. Tickets for finals in artistic gymnastics and swimming, for example, are priced at €690, while tickets for the men’s finals in the 100m sprint will set you back €980.
And if money is not an issue?
Head straight to the Hospitality Packages portal, which offers premium access to the games. Tickets are tiered gold, silver and bronze – and include some of the best views and seats in the house, food and drink service, dedicated staff, access to on-site lounges, live entertainment and even meet-and-greets with the Olympians. Better yet, you can buy confirmed tickets right away.
What’s the best way to have a stress-free Olympic travel experience?
For international attendees, organizers have also created all-inclusive travel packages that aim to take the stress out of Olympic travel planning. Depending on the budget, level of service, length of stay and sporting events you choose, these packages might include hotel accommodation, transportation to and from venues, and tailor-made guided tours.
What are the other ways I can participate?
For the first time in Olympic history, the Paris edition of the summer games will give amateur athletes the chance to run the same marathon route as the most elite runners in the world during the Marathon Pour Tous (Marathon for All). If 26.2 miles is too ambitious for you, there’s also a six-mile run.
But there’s a catch.
In order to qualify for one of the 20,024 places for either the marathon or the six-miler, you’ll have to rack up 100,000 activity points from the Club Paris 2024’s Marathon Pour Tous app (for iOS and Android) by the end of the year. The app works by synching to your existing activity tracker (such as Nike Run Club, Runkeeper, Map My Run, Garmin Connect or Fitbit). Those who are eligible will be entered in (another) draw for the chance to win a bib.
How can I watch the opening ceremonies?
If you’re less athlete and than spectator, you may want to try your luck attending what promises to be a spectacular, showstopping opening ceremony. In another historic first, the opening ceremony for the Paris games will take place not in a stadium, but in the city proper, along the iconic river Seine. Along the four-mile route, an eye-watering 600,000 spectators are expected to attend the celebrations – 10 times the capacity of a standard Olympic stadium.
Though tickets for paid seats along the lower banks of the Seine will likely all be snapped up in the second draw in May, access to the upper quays of the river will be free to the general public, and 80 giant screens located along the route.
What about volunteering? Would that guarantee access to events?
The short answer: no; we advise buying a confirmed ticket. But if you’re open to working behind the scenes and being a part of a historic event, you have until May 3 to apply online. To become a volunteer you don’t have to live in Paris or France – but keep in mind that volunteers are responsible for their own travel and accommodations and must speak French or English.
Whether you try your luck at buying tickets, participating as an amateur athlete or signing up as a volunteer, it’s safe to say you’ll be attending one of the most memorable Olympic games in the movement’s history.