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The cosmopolitan city of Paris is struggling with many problems before the Olympics. © APA/afp / MIGUEL MEDINA

Overnight stay for 700 euros: horror before the Olympics in Paris

The Olympic Games will take place in Paris in the summer of 2024. The situation in France's metropolis had already been causing headaches for months - from various points of view.

Anyone who travels on crowded Paris metros as a tourist or commuter can imagine what politicians and experts are saying openly. How will the Olympic Games next summer be able to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators to the sports venues in addition to the daily rush? “In fact, there will be places where transportation will not be ready because there will not be the number of trains and the frequency,” said Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Other politicians accused Hidalgo of being a polluter and pointed to intensive preparations for the smooth transport of spectators. “Traffic is a key element for the successful organization of the Games,” said the Olympic organizers. The success of the transport plan is a real collective challenge and requires coordination and anticipation. The Summer Games are scheduled for July 26th to August 11th, 2024.

Clear traffic problems

The head of the Paris transport company RATP, Jean Castex, also said: “We have an outdated network. There are at least eight out of ten lines that are no longer able to guarantee a high-quality public service.” The reason is inadequate investment in the network. The fact is that the games fall during the summer holidays, when many Parisians go on vacation. Transport Minister Clément Beaune called on other residents to work from home if possible during the games.

Paris has an outdated transport network that leads to chaos. © ANSA / Mohammed Badra

Extensive expansion of the metro and S-Bahn network has been started, but much of it will not be ready for the games. The extension of an important metro axis should at least go into operation shortly before the games and additional buses should relieve the strain on the railways. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, the recruitment of additional staff is still in full swing, as is the case for other areas of the games.
“In fact, there will be places where transportation will not be ready.” Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris

However, the increased fares that the Paris transport company is planning for the games are not very hospitable. The prices for single and weekly tickets are set to virtually double; the rates will only remain the same for commuters with monthly and annual tickets. The capital region wants to use the price surcharges to cover expected additional costs of around 200 million euros.

Hotel prices increased by 314 percent

And when it comes to hotel bookings, visitors to the games also have to be prepared for significant surcharges, according to the newspaper The echoes reported. There is a 314 percent increase in room rates when comparing this summer's rates with those during the Games. The average price for an overnight stay will then be 699 euros instead of 169 euros, as was the case this summer. In November, the Paris tourism board called on the industry to exercise moderation. The city of Paris now fears for the reputation of the games due to such prices and also sees other events hindered if such hotel prices are charged during the summer.

The average price for a hotel night at the Olympics is said to be 699 euros. © APA/afp / JACQUES DEMARTHON

Meanwhile, in view of the measures imposed in France two months ago highest terror alert level cautious doubts about the format of the Opening ceremony of the games arose. These should for the first time in the history of the games will not take place in a stadium. Instead, thousands of athletes will be welcomed in boats on the Seine against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower by tens of thousands of guests from all over the world. Whether this is feasible from a security perspective is something that is being asked, especially after the terrorist attack that left a German dead and two injured in the immediate vicinity of the Paris landmark at the beginning of December.

France's Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera initially did not see the celebration at risk. She said that rescheduling the celebrations planned on the Seine not far from the site of the attack was not currently being considered, despite the terrorist risks. There is no plan B, but there are options for adjustments to the existing planning, for example in terms of the number of spectators and the security area.

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