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Olympics France 2024: Your ultimate travel planning checklist
10 min read
Updated on Mar 04, 2024

As the world turns its eyes toward France for the Olympics and Paralympics in July and August 2024, the excitement is palpable. Whether you're a sports aficionado eager to witness record-breaking moments or a travel enthusiast looking to explore the charm of France, planning is key to an unforgettable and enjoyable trip!

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That’s where we’ve done the hard work for you! Here’s your comprehensive travel planning checklist to ensure your adventure to the Olympics is as thrilling as the games themselves.

Step 1: Research host cities and venues in France

From the iconic Paris, with its historical landmarks and modern Olympic village, to Marseille’s vibrant port and Lille’s architectural beauty, there’s much to explore.

Dive into the specifics of each host city and their Olympic and Paralympic venues, and schedule your must-see events accordingly:

  • Paris: Paris is transforming its iconic landmarks into unique sporting arenas for an exceptional spectator experience during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The city will feature 15 Olympic and 11 Paralympic venues, showcasing world-class sports in a compact layout.

Notably, 21 of 32 Olympic sports and 14 of 22 Paralympic sports will be hosted within 10 km of the Olympic Village, offering a concentrated and thrilling backdrop for the events.

  • Greater Paris: The Games will also be showcased beyond the capital's center, spanning from Les Yvelines to Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-et-Marne, and Seine-Saint-Denis.

Central to the initiative, Seine-Saint-Denis will host the Olympic and Paralympic Village, the Media Village, and six sporting events.

  • Throughout France: The 2024 Olympic Games will showcase France's cultural and regional diversity, involving the entire country.

Football matches will take place in six stadiums across Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Nice, and Marseille.

Handball finals and basketball qualification games will occur in Lille, while sailing events will be in Marseille's Mediterranean waters.

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  • Beyond France: For the first time, overseas territories will also participate, with Tahiti's Teahupo’o hosting the Olympic surfing competition, featuring some of the world's most renowned waves.

Check out this map for an overview of the locations and which sports they host:

Where to watch the Olympic Games in Paris for free: Fan zones

Get ready to dive into the heart of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games excitement, all without a ticket! Paris is rolling out the red carpet for fans with 25 vibrant fan zones scattered across the city.

These buzzing hubs offer a front-row seat to the action, showcasing live broadcasts on massive screens, and they're absolutely free. Each arrondissement brings its unique flavor to the festivities:

  • 1st arrondissement: Parc Rives de Seine and Quartier Jeunes

  • 2nd arrondissement: Fabrique de la Solidarité

  • 4th arrondissement: Académie du Climat

  • 5th arrondissement: Arènes de Lutèce

  • 6th arrondissement: Place Saint-Sulpice

  • 8th arrondissement: Parc Monceau

  • 9th arrondissement: Mairie

  • 10th arrondissement: Canal St-Martin and the Grange aux Belles district

  • 11th arrondissement: Mairie

  • 12th arrondissement: Allée Vivaldi

  • 13th arrondissement: Parc de Choisy

  • 14th arrondissement: Centre sportif Elisabeth

  • 15th arrondissement: Mairie

  • 16th arrondissement: Parc Sainte-Périne

  • 17th arrondissement: Parc Clichy Batignolles Martin Luther-King

  • 18th arrondissement: Jardins d’Éole and the Square Léon Serpollet

  • 19th arrondissement: Place Stalingrad, the Bassin de la Villette

  • 20th arrondissement: Complexe sportif Louis Lumière

France beyond the Olympics

Beyond the games, each city offers a world of discovery. Marvel at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, unwind by the scenic ports of Marseille, or enjoy the fine arts in Lille. Your Olympic trip can also be a cultural pilgrimage across France.

Check out our blog with the top 20 things to see in France beyond the famous sports event.

Step 2: Book accommodation early

Early booking is crucial, especially for the best accommodations near the Olympic venues. Consider your preferences—be it budget, location, or amenities.

Here are detailed tips on accommodation types and booking sites to help you navigate your options:

  • Hotels: From luxury to budget-friendly, hotels are the most traditional accommodation option. Consider hotels close to Olympic venues for convenience.

Check out Booking.com for a great selection for every budget.

  • Vacation rentals: Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo offer a home-away-from-home experience, providing more space and amenities such as kitchens and laundry facilities. This can be a cost-effective option, especially for groups or families.

  • Hostels: Ideal for solo travelers or those on a tight budget, hostels offer a social atmosphere and the chance to meet fellow sports enthusiasts. Many hostels provide private rooms in addition to dormitory-style accommodations.

  • Serviced Apartments: Combining the convenience of a hotel with the comfort of an apartment, serviced apartments are perfect for longer stays. They offer services like housekeeping, front desk assistance, and sometimes additional amenities such as fitness centers. StayCity is a good place to start looking.

iVisa tip: For maximum flexibility, book accommodations with free cancellation and no prepayment options. This ensures you can adapt your plans easily, whether staying longer to cheer on your favorite athlete in the finals or changing your itinerary last minute.

Step 3: Book transportation to and around France

France's well-connected transportation network offers a range of options for international and domestic travel. Here’s a deeper dive into flights, airlines, the Eurostar, and bus companies to help you plan your journey.

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Flights to France

Major international airports like Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY) in Paris, Lyon-Saint Exupéry (LYS), Nice Côte d'Azur (NCE), and Marseille Provence (MRS) serve as key gateways for visitors to the Olympics 2024.

  • Air France, the country's flagship carrier, offers extensive connections from global destinations.

  • Other international airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, and United Airlines also operate flights to France.

  • Budget airlines like HOP!, EasyJet, and Ryanair provide cost-effective options for travelers within Europe and even within France.

Trains and Eurostar

The Eurostar high-speed train connects London with Paris in just over two hours, making it an excellent choice for travelers from the UK, and even Belgium and the Netherlands. It’s a fast, efficient, and eco-friendly way to travel, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord, which is centrally located and well-connected to public transportation.

Beyond the Eurostar, France’s national rail company, SNCF, operates an extensive network of high-speed TGV trains (Train à Grande Vitesse) and regional trains.

TGVs link major cities at high speeds, making it possible to travel from Paris to Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, and other destinations quickly and comfortably. Booking tickets in advance on the SNCF website or via apps like Trainline can secure lower fares.

Consider purchasing an Interrail or Eurail pass if you’re looking to travel through Europe beyond France!

Bus travel

For budget-conscious travelers, long-distance buses offer an economical way to get around. Companies like FlixBus, BlaBlaBus (formerly Ouibus), and Eurolines provide extensive routes across France and Europe.

Buses might take longer but can significantly reduce travel costs, especially for shorter distances or routes not served by high-speed trains.

Renting a car and driving in France

Renting a car in France for the Olympics can offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore beyond the main event locations at your own pace. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a smooth car rental experience:

  • Age restrictions: The minimum age to rent a car in France is typically 21 years old, but this can vary by rental company. Drivers under 25 may incur a young driver surcharge.

  • Driving license: A valid driving license from your home country is required. If your license is not in the Roman alphabet (e.g., Arabic, Cyrillic, Chinese), an International Driving Permit (IDP) is also necessary.

  • Credit card: A credit card in the driver's name is usually required for a security deposit. Check if your card offers rental car insurance coverage as a benefit.

  • Traffic rules: Familiarize yourself with French driving laws, which can be quite specific. The same goes for taking your own car to France. Remember, you’ll have to drive on the right-hand side of the road.

  • Book in advance: To ensure availability and better rates, book your car rental well before your trip. This is especially important during the Olympics when demand will be higher.

  • Navigating: Get to know the venue locations and nearby parking options for convenience. Consider renting a car for venues outside Paris, since the city will restrict traffic at major intersections for events. Opt for a GPS rental for effortless and current navigation.

Step 4: Buy tickets for the Games of your choice

Stay vigilant for the official ticket release dates and purchase through authorized vendors only to avoid scams.

Tickets are usually sold in phases, starting with a ballot or lottery system for the most in-demand events. Later phases may involve direct sales on a first-come, first-served basis.

To stay informed, sign up for email alerts from the official Olympics website. This way, you’ll receive updates on ticket releases, special offers, and important deadlines.

There are three types of tickets:

  • Event tickets: These are tickets for specific competitions. If you have favorite sports or athletes, prioritize these events in your planning.

  • Ceremony tickets: The opening and closing ceremonies are highly sought after. These tickets are usually more expensive and sell out quickly.

  • Olympic park passes: Some Olympics offer passes to enter the Olympic Park without access to specific events. These allow you to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the fan zones.

Plan your event schedule ahead to avoid clashes and ensure you get to see your favorite sports!

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Step 5: Apply for travel documents and get insurance

Here are some quick things to look out for in your travel admin:

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay.

  • Check the visa requirements for your country well in advance.

iVisa tip: We double-check your details and offer a step-by-step guide for getting your France Schengen Visa quickly and easily! It will also allow you to explore the rest of Europe with just one single visa for 90 days. Win-win!

  • Investing in comprehensive travel insurance can save you from unforeseen troubles, giving you peace of mind as you enjoy the games.

To apply for the Schengen Visa, you must have mandatory travel insurance covering at least €30.000 in medical expenses in the entire Schengen Area.

Packing essentials

Tailor your packing list to France's climate during the Olympics and the activities you plan to engage in. Opt for a mix of comfort and style, keeping it light to ease your travels.

Here’s a little checklist to keep in mind:


  • Weather-appropriate apparel: Research the typical weather conditions for the year you'll be visiting. Late summer in France can range from extremely hot to cool, so it's wise to pack layers. Include lightweight clothing for sunny days, a waterproof jacket for rain, and a sweater or light jacket for cooler evenings.

  • Comfortable footwear: Expect a lot of walking, whether you're exploring cities or navigating Olympic venues. Bring comfortable walking shoes or sneakers, and consider a pair of dressier shoes for evenings out.

  • Event-specific attire: Bring along or buy fan gear to cheer on your favorite athletes, giving them that extra push of support.

iVisa tip: Traveling with someone else? Divide your gear over both your suitcases. If one gets lost, you’ll have access to at least some travel essentials until your luggage has been found and returned to you!


  • Power adapter and converter: France uses Type E plugs and operates on a 230V supply voltage. Ensure you have the right adapter and a voltage converter if your devices don't support 230V.

  • Portable charger: A long day of events means heavy phone use for photos, navigation, and social media. A portable charger ensures your devices stay powered.

Other essentials

  • Travel documents: Ensure your passport, tickets, visas, accommodation confirmations, and travel insurance documents are easily accessible. Keep both digital and physical copies.

  • Day pack: A lightweight, secure backpack or crossbody bag is essential for carrying your daily essentials, water bottle, and any souvenirs you pick up.

  • Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the day, especially when spending long hours outdoors or in crowds.

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Step 6: Budgeting and currency exchange

Set a clear budget for various aspects of your trip. Understand the currency exchange rate and consider exchanging some money before you leave to avoid high fees abroad.

Explore budgeting apps or tools to keep your expenses in check, ensuring you enjoy the Olympics without financial stress. TravelSpend is a well-reviewed app that lets you add expenses on the go and keep track of your budget.

Contact us for more info about the France Schengen Visa

Embarking on a journey to the Olympics in France is more than just witnessing a global sporting event - it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of one of the world’s most beloved destinations.

We’re here to help you prepare for your trip and navigate the France Schengen Visa application process with ease! Apply today on our user-friendly platform or app or contact us via WhatsApp.

  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This site does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. The source of information: https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/home
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