How Paris is Preparing for the 2024 Olympics

PARIS, FRANCE, JULY 7, 2023: Icon of Summer olympic Games Paris 2024 Held by Athlete. Modern Olympic Stadium in background. Wallpaper for Summer Olympic Game in Paris 2024.

With less than seven months until the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city is preparing to host what it hopes will be the most memorable Summer Olympics to date for its expected 15 million spectators.

This summer will mark the return of an in-person Olympics following the pandemic-stricken Tokyo Games, as well as 100 years since the last Olympics in France. So here’s what you need to know about the challenges facing the Olympic Games.

Details About the 2024 Paris Olympic Games

When are the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?

Friday, July 26th to Sunday, August 11th, 2024

Where will the 2024 Summer Olympic Games be hosted?

Paris, France. Mostly. Team volleyball will be played behind the Eiffel Tower, tennis at Roland Garros Stadium, and the opening ceremony will be held along the Seine River via boat parade. Other events will occur in surrounding cities, with soccer matches in stadiums including Bordeaux, Nice, and Marseille. And for the first time in history, the Games will take place in overseas territories, with surfing in Tahiti!

What sports will be present at the Olympic Games?

10,500+ athletes from 32 sports will compete in the 2024 Olympic Games. This year, 4 new sports are on the list: breakdancing, skateboarding, surfing, and climbing.

How can I buy tickets to the Paris Olympics?

Depending on the sport, tickets range from 15€ to 3,000€. Full price breakdowns and available tickets can be found here. As of early December, roughly 25% of all tickets were still available.

Where can I watch the Paris Olympic Games?

All Olympic events will be streamed live on NBC and Peacock for U.S. viewers. Daily schedules will be announced closer to the start.

Paris, France, 05 April 2023: Drone view of a modern sports stadium in Paris prepared for the Summer Olympic Games in the French capital in 2024. Sports facility in Paris
Aerial view of Olympic stadiums in Paris

Preparations for the Paris Olympics

Ambitious Dining and Sustainability Goals

What will define the 2024 Paris Games is its Food Vision. 

Olympic organizers hope to fuse gourmet French cuisine with local produce, having outlined 6 commitments for food sustainability, promising twice as much plant-based food compared to previous Olympics, 80% French-produced food, and a plan to recycle 100% of uneaten food.

Paris hopes that its sustainable food efforts will be a model for the city and the world. In a presentation given in June 2022, Tony Estanguet, President of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and former French Olympian, described examples of the 13+ million meals to be provided at the Games. One of these includes a veggie burger, made of lentils and grains, containing local Brie de Meaux cheese and seasonal carrots–all served on a plate in lieu of disposable containers.

As the company with the longest-standing partnership with the Olympics (95 years), Coca-Cola has also committed to leading the Games’ sustainability efforts. Eric Desbonnets, Coca-Cola’s Vice President of Operations and Sustainability for Paris 2024, has outlined three of the brand’s sustainability contributions to the Games: the availability of drinking fountains, reusable bottles, and media education. Attendees can purchase an eco-cup and refill their drinks from Coca-Cola fountains, buy glass bottled drinks from restaurants, and recycle them at designated Coca-Cola recycling centers. 

Ahead of the Olympics, Coca-Cola tested these fountains and recyclable bottles during the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with success, Desbonnets says. Coca-Cola hopes to achieve net zero emissions in its value chain by 2040, and the 2024 Paris Games are just an accelerator for them and other food and beverage companies. 

Cleaning the Seine River

So it can host swimming events and the opening ceremony boat parade along the famous Seine River, the city has been undergoing preparations to clean the river since 2018, including installing new sewage systems and water treatment tests. However, severe rains affected France in July 2023, increasing the level of E.coli bacteria in the water and forcing the cancellation of the Olympic triathlon, para-triathlon, and open water swimming test events this summer. If the river water is deemed unhealthy to swim come July 2024, Olympic organizers say competitions may be delayed. There is no Plan B. 

Running platform for the Paris 2024 Olympics on the Seine River
Running platform for the Paris 2024 Olympics on the Seine River

Tourism and Lodging for the Paris Olympic Games

The Paris tourism office has reported that hotel prices may rise from an average of €169 per night in July 2023 to €699 per night in July 2024: a 314% price increase! Also, 45% of rooms in Paris are already reserved, where typically only 3% are booked 6-12 months in advance. Tourists looking to lodge in Airbnbs won’t face much better luck; more than 500,000 tourists are expected to stay at an Airbnb. A Deloitte study found that Airbnb prices in the Paris region will rise 85%, with some two-bedroom apartments going for €2,000 a night. Cities near competition venues, like Vaires-sur-Marne and Le Bourget, have seen their Airbnb listing views increase by 210% and 185%, respectively. To avoid the Paris Olympics’ bubble of inflated prices, Olympic sports fans may have to seek accommodation in nearby cities like Reims or Amiens, and commute 1-2 hours by train.

Concerns and Controversy over the Paris Olympic Games

So, is Paris ready? How well are Paris’ transportation systems and economy prepared to cope with a massive influx of tourists? 

Transportation for the Paris Olympic Games

In an interview with France’s Quotidien Talk Show in November 2023, Anne Hidalgo, Paris’ mayor, expressed concerns that public transportation infrastructure will not be able to accommodate the expected 15 million spectators. Even current Parisian commuters and tourists complain of poor frequency, overcrowding, and uncleanliness in Paris metros.

Security Concerns in Paris

Terrorist attacks in France over the last decade, including December’s fatal stabbing near the Eiffel Tower, raise concerns about the security measures in place for the Olympics. While the country plans to deploy 17,000-22,000 police officers and security agents each day, the opening ceremony boat parade raises additional concerns because officers will need to cover a larger area than in previous Olympic opening ceremonies. For additional measures, QR codes will be required to enter Olympic events, and residents will have to register visitors who enter their homes if they live within official Olympic competition zones. 

The Paris Olympic flag beside the French national flag
The Paris Olympic flag beside the French national flag

Possible Corruption in the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee

The Paris 2024 Organizing Committee (Paris 2024) has been accused of misusing funds. This governing body of the 2024 Olympics, headed by President Tony Estanguet, was established in 2018 and is responsible for planning and financing the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with their Executive Board composed of experienced event organizers and local government representatives, including Paris’ Minister of Sports. There is comparatively little government investment, as almost 96% of Paris 2024’s $4.38 billion budget comes from the private sector. Misuse of funds came to light last June and October when French financial prosecutors raided the Paris 2024 Olympics headquarters on suspicions of favoritism, conflicts of interest, and embezzlement. Estanguet says Paris 2024 is complying fully with the investigation.

Restrictions on Russian Olympic Athletes

Amid the war in Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced that Russian or Belarusian athletes may only compete as Individual Neutral Athletes. Similar measures were taken in the 2022 Winter Olympics in reaction to state-sponsored doping scandals, and Russian athletes were required to compete as neutral competitors under the “Russian Olympic Committee.”

Can Paris Pull it Off?

While the Olympics are expected to bring over €10 billion in economic benefits for Paris and its suburbs, Paris must address some of its shortcomings to maintain its reputation as one of the greatest tourism cities in the world. A successful Olympics in the most visited country globally will establish new precedents for leaders and organizations hosting international events, and fighting climate change around the world. 

If it can be done in Paris, then it can be done anywhere.

Maggie Tsyganova is a freshman at Rice University studying economics, finance, and French. Outside of school, she enjoys playing competitive chess, hip-hop dance, and cooking.

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