The world’s largest sporting event will take place against the backdrop of iconic sights in the City of Light. Ticket-hospitality packages are now available.
By Randy Mink
Tour operators seeking to give clients a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris should sprint, not jog, if they want to lock in tickets and hotel accommodations for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Officially titled Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, the Summer Games will be the biggest event in Paris’ long and glorious history. The French capital last hosted the Olympics a century ago, in 1924, and did the same in 1900. (London also has hosted the event three times.)
Next summer’s competitions will feature 32 sports, from archery, badminton and swimming to weightlifting, wrestling and water polo. These include four newly introduced sports, all closely associated with youth: breaking (or breakdancing, making its Olympic debut), sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.
Dates for Olympic Games Paris 2024 are July 26 to August 11, while the Paralympic Games will run from August 23 to September 8.
Starting with Paris 2024, the sale of hospitality packages for the Games is being centralized via a single provider. For the first time, tour operators (and individuals) can go to one source to secure hotel rooms and guaranteed event tickets.
In this new, groundbreaking model, On Location, a global e-commerce platform that creates customized premium experiences at major events worldwide, partners with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the official and exclusive hospitality provider for Paris 2024 (and Milano Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028).
On Location and a handful of authorized sub-distributors (one in Canada but none in the U.S.) are the only safe sources through which ticket-inclusive packages can be purchased. The Paris 2024 Ticketing Program is the only other risk-free way to secure attendance to the Games.
On Location’s Will Whiston, executive vice president, Olympics and Paralympics, says now is the time to book as “this is the most high-in-demand Olympics in recent memory,” with interest even exceeding that of the 2012 Olympics in London, the last time the Summer Games were held in Europe.
The post-pandemic desire to gather for a big event, coupled with the chance to visit one of the world’s most popular tourist cities at a prime time, largely accounts for the demand, Whiston observes. (International tourists were not allowed at the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021.) The Paris 2024 Ticketing Program reports record sales.
Whiston points out that hotels will be at a premium, acknowledging that “there are only so many hotel room nights” in Paris during the Games. On Location has spent the last two years securing blocks of rooms at 3-, 4- and 5-star properties. “In some cases we’ve taken over the entire hotel.”
Another reason to book early, Whiston says, is to snare tickets to the sport of your choice.
On Location offers both Travel Packages (event tickets, hotel, sightseeing and various amenities bundled) and Hospitality Packages (event tickets but no hotel).
More than 90 percent of Olympic sports are available with an On Location Hospitality offer, which could be at the competition site or a convenient city-center location. A July 27 beach volleyball Hospitality Package at the Eiffel Tower Stadium, for example, includes pre-event access to an on-site, Olympic-themed hospitality lounge with TV screens broadcasting coverage throughout the space. Other Hospitality plans provide lounge access before, during and after the sporting session. Fans can choose from four levels of service at the on-site hospitality venues—Gold, Silver, Bronze and Private Box.
Those who choose the entry-level Hospitality In The City packages (including sports event ticket) will be invited to share in the excitement of Clubhouse 24, located in the city center’s Palais de Tokyo, the largest contemporary art center in Europe. A groundbreaking concept developed especially for Paris 2024, this hospitality and entertainment zone offers easy access on foot or via public transportation to 15 competition venues. The Clubhouse 24 main stage will feature live music performances, sports demonstrations, interactive fun and special guest appearances. Guests can enjoy a host of food and beverage at the Parisian-inspired food market.
As for Travel Packages, they come in two categories—Discover packages (for shorter stays) and Explore packages (longer stays, sightseeing, other amenities).
A two-night Discover package using the 3-star 9Hotel Opera (August 4-6) includes two tickets to volleyball or track and field, plus transportation to and from the event.
A three-night Explore package featuring the 3-star Mama Shelter Paris West (July 31-August 3) includes sightseeing and tickets to fencing, athletics and volleyball sessions. Other amenities: a City Pass to top Paris attractions (The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, etc.) permitting expedited entry; access to Salon 24, a dedicated hospitality space with activities and fine cuisine in Saint-Germain-des- Pres; and choice of a tailor-made tour from one of six areas of interest (History & Culture, Food & Wine, Fashion & Style, Modern Paris, Family Friendly, Active & Wellness).
Those who book Travel Packages, either Discover or Explore plans, receive a commemorative gift, which can range from Olympic-themed mementos (i.e. pins, mascots) to beverage baskets and apparel. Hospitality Packages also could include a gift.
Some Travel and Hospitality Packages provide access to the Team USA House in the historic Palais Brongniart in the heart of the city. The experience will feature athlete appearances, Olympic Games viewing opportunities with fellow fans, and American and Parisian-inspired food and beverage.
Tour operators interested in a package for groups of 11 or more can submit the online form at https://corporateHospitality.paris2024.org. For individuals and smaller groups, the e-commerce platform is https://hospitalitytravelpackages.paris2024.org.
2024 Summer Olympics Competition Sites
Olympic venues will be spread across Paris at both well-established and temporary arenas, with many sports being played against the backdrop of iconic landmarks in the heart of the city, often within walking distance of the fashionable boulevard Champs Elysees.
Beach volleyball and blind football, for example, will be set up in the temporary Eiffel Tower Stadium in Champ de Mars, the park at the foot of the very symbol of Paris. Nearby, the temporary Champ de Mars Arena will host judo, wrestling and wheelchair rugby. Anchoring the eastern end of the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, the French capital’s largest square, will be the scene of breaking and skateboarding, among other events.
Beneath the glass roof of the Grand Palais in Champ de Mars, fencing and taekwondo competitions will take place. Built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the domed steel-and-glass masterpiece is often the site of horse shows and large-scale exhibitions.
The world’s best archers will take over the esplanades of Hotel des Invalides, the complex of buildings containing monuments and museums related to France’s military history, including the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Seine riverbanks, along with surrounding streets, will welcome marathon and cycling events.
The Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, with the Eiffel Tower looming in the background, will be held on and around the city’s main artery, the Seine. The public will be able to greet the 10,000-some athletes as they parade by in boats for each national delegation. The celebratory spectacle concludes at the Trocadero, a monumental space across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. It will be the largest opening ceremony ever held and the first time the Summer Games’ ceremony has not been staged in a stadium. At least 600,000 spectators will be able to attend the festivities, and most will not have to pay admission.
The Paralympic opening ceremony will see 4,000 athletes from 184 countries marching down the Champs Elysees to Place de la Concorde.
Outside of the city, the Palace of Versailles will host equestrian events on its grounds. Some On Location packages include an after-session tour of the palace’s sumptuous salons and Hall of Mirrors.
Stade de France (Stadium of France), the country’s national stadium, will host track and field events, plus the closing ceremony. Situated in the Ile-de-France region that surrounds Paris, the stadium is used by France’s national soccer team. With a seating capacity of 80,698, it ranks as the sixth-largest stadium in Europe. The Olympic and Paralympic Village will be less than five minutes away from Stade de France. Stade Rolande Garros, site of the French Open tennis tournament, will host Olympic tennis and boxing.
Besides Ile-de-France locations, cities throughout France will play a part in the Games. Final phases of handball and basketball competitions will be held at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy Stadium. Athletes will converge on Marseille for soccer and sailing. Also hosting soccer will be Paris’ Parc de Princes and the cities of Bordeaux, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Lyon and Nantes. In French Polynesia, the island of Tahiti will welcome the world’s best surfers.
Paris 2024 Olympics By the Numbers
- 10,500 athletes
- 206 nations
- 40 competition sites
- 32 sports
- 329 events
- 762 sessions
- 31,500 volunteers
- 6,000 accredited journalists
- 600,000 spectators for opening ceremony
- 7 million spectators
- 4 billion television viewers worldwide
Lead photo courtesy of On Location