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Booking Last-Minute for the Paris Olympics? Here’s What to Know

Hotel rates are higher for special events like the Olympics, and they also tend to adjust their policies because the stakes are so high.

The Olympic Games in Paris are just over a month away, and many travelers who may be interested in attending could be considering the possibility they’ve waited too long to secure their accommodations. 

Mais non

We’ve checked Paris hotels for popular Olympic dates, and that’s hardly the story. Sure, rates are higher than normal for Paris in the summer—in some cases just over twice what is typical—but the Olympics was never going to be done on the cheap. 

Still, there are several considerations for the Olympics this summer (which are scheduled for July 26 – August 11 for the Olympic Games and August 28 – September 8 for the Paralympic Games). Read on for more detail. 

Not All Events Are in Paris

Soccer fan? Many of the matches will be held in arenas in cities around France, including Nice, Bordeaux, Lyon, and Nantes. Basketball and handball will be held in Villenueve d’Ascq, which is much closer to Brussels than Paris. Hotels in those cities are expected to see a bump in bookings during their specific event dates, but still continue to have generally good availability. 

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Even in the Ile de France Region, some events are outside the Paris city center. Golf, BMX racing, and mountain biking are held near Versailles. Climbing is near Le Bourget, and hockey is in the suburb of Colombes. Each of those locations also have accommodations available. 

Surfing is some 10,000 miles away in Tahiti, in French Polynesia, where availability is wide open this summer. But don’t go looking for event tickets: the surfing events in Tahiti aren’t open to spectators. 

Hotels Aren’t Sold Out

Even in Central Paris, hotels have availability during Olympic dates. Availability and rates tend to be the most scarce around the opening ceremonies on July 26, but they’re by no means completely sold out. 

Even the city’s iconic luxury hotels—a hotel tier that was expected to sell out early—have availability, mostly outside of the opening ceremony dates. The Hôtel Plaza Athénée has rooms from July 31 onwards, as does the Raffles Royal Monceau. Even the famous Hôtel Ritz currently has rooms available for August. 

Other less stratospherically-priced hotels belonging to major global hospitality brands like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt also have availability for pockets of dates throughout the Olympic weeks. And it’s not just hotels in the outlying suburbs, either—many of the hotels still showing availability are right in the center of the action along the Seine River. These popular chain hotels tend to cluster in the 1st Arrondissement near popular attractions like the Place de Concorde, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysée, and Arc de Triomphe. 

There are also several hotels in the immediate surrounding areas that still have good availability for most dates—including the dates of the opening ceremonies. French brand Accor Hotels, which operates hotel brands such as Mercure, Ibis, Novotel, Sofitel, and MGallery, has a number of three-and-four star properties on Rue La Fayette with rates running in the €220 per night range. 

Other Special Watch-Outs

Hotel rates are higher for special events like the Olympics, and they also tend to adjust their policies because the stakes are so high. A good number of the city’s hotels are offering only nonrefundable rates during Olympic dates, so once that reservation is made, those rooms are yours whether you use them or not. A good travel insurance policy can help you recover your money if you end up not traveling for a covered reason, such as yourself or a family member being injured or falling ill. 

It’s also a good idea to check whether event tickets are still available prior to booking your hotel. Ticket sales are still opening in waves, and be sure to book hotels quickly after securing event tickets, for hotels will undoubtedly see booking spikes during the event ticket waves.

Favorite or preferred hotel property sold out? Check each date during your intended stay individually to find out which night is sold out, particularly for longer stays. A quick fix is simply to book another hotel for the unavailable nights. 

The Olympics are also not the time to push the envelope with hotels. Paris hotels are notoriously small, and fire codes are strictly enforced, so don’t try to bunk multiple people in a room not designed for them to save money. Always make sure to enter the actual number of people intended to occupy the room when checking hotel availability. 

Paris hotels charge more for third or fourth guests in a room, because that involves assigning a room that can physically fit more than two people in it (some of them can’t). 

Security for these Olympics is also expected to be tight. When booking hotels near Olympic activities in the city center, be sure to check whether the hotel management has implemented any additional security measures. Vehicle traffic is expected to be severely curtailed along the Seine during the Games, so that’s another consideration for choosing the right property. 

All of that considered, there’s still hope for travelers aiming to celebrate the Olympics in Paris a century after the last Olympiad held in the City of Light. Hotels can be had, event tickets can be had, and sports fans from around the world can come enjoy what’s perhaps the world’s most famous sporting event in one of the world’s most renowned cities.