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French Olympics Impact on Summer Travel in non-Paris areas

My family is trying to decide where in Europe to travel for the Summer of 2024. My daughter will be 5-years-old and we have been spending the last two weeks of June and the first week in July exploring a different part of Europe. We are not big city people at all, and we tend to enjoy the off-the-beaten path places that we out in the countryside or along the coast. We are interested in France because we could either travel to the Brittany region or to Provence. Since this would be pre-Olympics time and Paris will be the venue for the Olympics, how much do you think that these outlying areas will be impacted? Are there any problems that you can foresee. Thank you for any advice!

The Simpson Family

Posted by
5140 posts

When I lived on the Central Coast of California during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, we observed athletes and their support teams arriving early, to adapt to the time change, food, water, and area, weeks to months in advance, and training hours away from the actual venues. Athletes were training in the San Luis Obispo area, which is two hours from LA. In addition, some of the venues were way outside of LA. Athletes like runners were training in smaller towns, off the beaten path areas. Think about the amount of support staff coming into the country, (probably thru the Paris airport, ) in media, administration,security, housing, nutrition, etc., and perhaps bringing their families, who may want to explore France while they're in the country.
Also, the LA newspapers reported the folks who actually lived in LA left the city and spent their time in other parts of the state.
Just one person's experience, but I'd go anywhere else. Maybe someone else here has experience around a summer Olympics? Good luck!

Posted by
5120 posts

The Olympics venues are not limited to the area immediately in and around Paris. They are all over the country. And as already mentioned, those both directly and indirectly involved will be arriving up to several months before their events even start, bringing in thousands of people. This link discusses where those areas are: https://www.paris2024.org/en/competition-venue-concept/

I agree that for next year, you might want to pick a different country. If you must travel in summer, go to France in '25.

Posted by
788 posts

I'm not expecting to see much difference in the Loire Valley. None here seems to be doing any planning beyond what they would normally do.

Interest here is so low that the Department (Indre et Loire) didn't even bother apply to be involved in the Olympic Torch relay, and no-one has complained that it's not coming anywhere close.

Posted by
14580 posts

I expect the hotel prices (2 star hotels) will be outrageously high in Paris prior to the Olympics, ie May and June and lasting into August. Hopefully , a slight dip by August.

Since I intend to be back in Europe and France by June at the latest, (going into July), those super high Paris prices obviously preclude staying there. In that case it's best to stay in towns within an one hour radius from Paris...max.

I checked out several prospective hotels in these towns for exactly this purpose on this trip. Summer prices are very much lower at 2 star places. relative to those in Paris.

Posted by
546 posts

Have you thought about going to the Basque Country? Bayonne, Biarritz and Saint Jean du Luz are all on the coast. No big cities, and if there is Olympic pressure, it is easy to slip over the border in Spain.

Like Pat, I lived through the 1984 Olympics, but I was in the San Diego area. We actually had some of the equestrian events in Ranch Santa Fe. There were also some athletes training at the universities before going to LA. In general it really didn't affect us much.

In 1992 I was in Logroño during the Barcelona games, and the games did not affect at all the life there. We even went to Zaragoza to see the USA play Poland in Soccer, and we got tickets on game day.

Of course this was 40 and 30 years ago, and there is probably a lot more hype around the games.

Posted by
557 posts

I am planning on going to the Olympics. I can tell you that in addition to Paris, there are events being held in Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, Nice, Bordeaux, Nantes and Saint-Etienne. Most of those sites are soccer/football, basketball and sailing which will be taking place for 10-14 days even starting a few days before the Olympics to get the prelim matches completed. If you are not wanting to catch any overflow crowds and traffic from the Olympics, I would head towards Spain, Germany or further away. You can also expect people to be flying into surrounding airports like Frankfurt, Brussels, and London and taking a train into Paris.

Posted by
3 posts

I suggest you to visit the Anjou region.
Sadly and strangely, a region which is not crowded by Tourists but has amazing things to visit (sometimes unique in Europe or in the world).
I would be more than happy to give you some additional information if you are interested by my home region.

Posted by
2765 posts

I was in the Atlanta area for the Olympics that were here and I noticed the same thing as Pat. For example in my home town Knoxville Tennessee, three hours away, there were teams using the athletic facilities to get ready.

Posted by
9865 posts

I think the problem is not so much going to other places in France -- although I agree there could be some problems with teams training all over the place.

I would steer away from flying into or out of France. The airports are going to be a mess.

Posted by
278 posts

Kim and Charles, thanks for confirming a big concern I had about flying into CDG or Orly next summer. We plan to be in Paris from July 4 to August 1. Does anyone have any suggestions on which airports might be easiest to fly into and train to Paris? We'll be coming from NYC/JFK/EWR. We've flown into London on previous trips and taken the Eurostar to Paris but other than that we have no experience with airports like Schipol or Frankfurt, etc. Friends have mentioned that departing from LHR is a real hassle and something to avoid. We're seniors (75 years old) with creaky knees and traveling light with only a hand-carry each to make things as easy as possible. Thank you.

Posted by
5120 posts

Adrienne, you could check flights to and from Brussels, which is only about 1 1/2 hrs away from Paris by high speed train. Alternate international airports with good North America connections are Amsterdam and Frankfurt; but they are a few hours further away.

Posted by
9865 posts

From Brussels and Amsterdam, you are then going to have to fight to get a place on the (expensive) Thalys.

Honestly, France has been here for a few thousand years and will be here for a few thousand more. I would go elsewhere in July through September 2024 if I were not specifically coming for the Olympics.

Posted by
1321 posts

We had planned to visit Belgium the year the Olympics were in London. I was using "miles" for flights and ran into a problem that we could get to Europe but could not find flight home from ANYwhere. So we cancelled the trip that year. Now, I was using miles so I get the limitations but the airline agent who spent, no kidding, 2 hours with me on the phone was not surprised that it was so hard to find flights in Europe even with the Olympics being in London. She said the Olympics have a huge impact on flights. So book as early as you can is my advice.

Posted by
278 posts

Thanks for your input, everyone. I'll definitely look into flying into Brussels as well as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and London although it didn't occur to me that getting seats on the TGV was going to be competitive with lots of folks having the same idea about avoiding CDG. It's also surprising to hear about how all flights within Europe will be impacted by the Paris Olympics but it makes sense. I've begun tracking flights on Delta and United (attempting to use our air miles but the current rate is 160K miles per economy ticket, which is 100K over the usual rate) so I'm hoping to catch a decent fare on Delta by booking early. I suspect fares will only get higher as interest in the Paris Olympics builds. Thanks again.