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A Travel Agent’s tips for visiting Paris during the Olympics

All eyes will be on Paris this year. The 2024 Paris Olympics will take place from 26 July to 11 August.  What does this mean for travellers?


Pont Alexandre III, Paris (Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash)

Europe this summer is set to be bustling with tourists, with most accommodation completely booked out.  “Let alone it being peak season, on top of that you have the surplus of travellers for the Olympics. So you can expect it to be packed,” Ms Campo said.  Campo has noticed that travelling to Europe during this time is “expensive” as “prices have increased significantly for transport, accommodation and flights”. 


According to The Guardian from 20 July, a city bus fare will double from $4.07 to $8.15 and Metro tickets are being raised by more than 85%. According to the Paris Tourism office during the Olympics, there has been a surge in price of “366% for two-star hotels and 475% for three-star hotels". 


Ms Campo reveals some of her travel advice for those who have booked to travel to Europe this year. She believes that safety and saving money is a priority for many young people.

 

An RMIT student said, "when making my plans to travel to Europe, reducing the cost is at the forefront of my decisions and as a young female safety is a major concern for me".


Ms Campo suggests that travellers do a lot of walking instead of taking public transportation, where possible. Not only to save money on travel fares but “you get to explore better”. However, when travelling at night, it’s important for people to stay within the city and avoid quiet, poorly lit streets. 


In addition, she urges people to always watch their belongings and “don’t trust anyone” as pickpocketing is common, especially in the summer. Pickpocketers commonly target tourists and areas that are crowded such as public transport and famous landmarks. 

Metro, Paris (Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash)

Ms Campo recalled her experience of being pickpocketed where she had no awareness her money had been stolen. Her advice to her younger self would be to “not let your guard down”. 


Despite the fare increase, and warnings to stay vigilant on public transport, Ms Campo acknowledges that highlights in Paris are all connected via public transport. Paris does offer a picturesque setting for walking, yet public transport remains a practical necessity.


The metro is available daily from 5:30 am to midnight on weekdays to around 1:45 am on weekends. The Navigo Easy pass, conveniently allows for 10 transport journeys in central Paris, alternatively the Paris Visite pass offering unlimited travel for 1- 5 days.

The Seine River, Paris ( Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash)

Campo recommends visiting:


The Seine River. Boat Cruises embark at the Eiffel Tower, where you can admire the architecture as you are taken through the heart of Paris. 


It attracts nearly 7 million visitors every year and is often described as an ‘engineering marvel’.  A trip to Paris is not complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower!


The Musée du Louvre, Paris (Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash)

“Climbing up the Eiffel Tower is worth it, but you can only go up to a certain level then there are additional expenses to take into account”,  Ms Campo said.



The Musée du Louvre. It is among the world's largest museums featuring the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Caravaggio.


The Moulin Rouge. It is a cabaret in Paris and since 1889 it has held the title of the most famous show in the world.




However, it is important to be vigilant as it is located near the red-light district area called Pigalle. Pigalle is known to have a raunchy reputation, acquiring the nickname “Pig Alley” in the Second World War. 


Ms Campo’s favourite Café is Le Bistrot du Peintre, which first opened its doors in 1902, renowned for traditional French dishes and offers fine wines from both well-known and small producers.


For Ms Campo, her experience in Paris was one she won't forget with its “beauty and charm”.


However, as an English speaker, Ms Campo recalls that at times she felt intimidated around locals.  She explained that “at times locals can be rude with those that don’t speak French ''. Her advice to her younger self would be to “learn the basics of French'' before you go. 


At the same time, she does not believe that the language barrier impacted her time in France, “it was more so when asking directions that was difficult”. 


For those planning to travel to Europe in the future Ms Campo suggests keeping an open mind when choosing airlines. She explained that “Turkish Airlines run a good service” and “Singapore Airlines are cheap at the moment”.


Scoot owned by Singapore Airlines often has a “poorer reputation” as a low-cost carrier however Campo does consider them “safe”. She believes that “people want luxury sometimes”, and often prioritise comfort. 


She advises that although you won’t receive a full-service on Scoot, for younger people, this is a “safe” and low-budget option that people shouldn’t be deterred by. 


She recommends that, when booking flights, people should thoroughly check their options because sometimes the better fare doesn’t always connect,  depending on where you stop. She believes “if it is cheaper, it can be worth it”. 


Singapore’s Changi Airport (Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash)

She recommends stopping in Singapore or Dubai “which is like a holiday in itself.” One often does not hear of residents visiting the airport without luggage. However, in Singapore, residents often visit for day trips. 


 When booking accommodation an RMIT student said “I don't think I really consider staying in hostels”. 


However, Ms Campo believes that “some hostels can be as nice as hotels, it’s just about choosing the right ones, and in a good location”.  She thinks for young people, hostels can be a safe and low-budget option that shouldn’t be overlooked. 


At 24, 31 years ago, Ms Campo travelled around Europe for a year staying in hostels. As well as sleeping at beaches and train station platforms, where she recalls the “bodies of people”.


She does believe that “things have changed since that trip”. She thinks that hostels have greater safety regulations, and she definitely does not recommend sleeping in public places, which “is more uncommon now”!


However, for those that prefer hotels, she recommends Keppler Hotel or for a lower budget option, Hôtel Elysées Paris for its location. 


“The City Of Lights” offers picturesque sights from the imagination of travellers, at every turn there is something new to see. With consideration for safety and possible low-budget options available, the fabled city can become an experience that won't be forgotten. 



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