The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are shaping up to be très cher for spectators. That's French for "a big fat rip-off."
This week local authorities announced a plan to nearly double the price of a single ride on the Paris Métro from July 20 to September 8, 2024—a span that covers the dates of the Olympic Games (July 26–August 11) as well as the Paralympic Games (August 28–September 8).
During that time, a single Métro ride, currently available for €2.10 ($2.29), is set to spike to €4 ($4.36). A book of 10 tickets, which you can get for €16.90 ($18.41) now, will set you back €32 ($34.86) next summer, according to the public transit authority for the Paris region.
Almost 10 million people are expected to be in and around the city for the Olympics, reports the New York Times, and to meet demand a lot more Métro and commuter rail trips will be running, to the tune of an additional €200 million. The temporary fare increase is part of the effort to cover that cost.
Only here's the thing: As Le Monde columnist Philippe Le Coeur points out, Paris promised in its bid for the Games to provide free public transportation to Olympics ticket-holders. After all, that's what London did in 2012.
An Olympics bid evidently doesn't require a no-take-backs clause, though. If Paris officials now get their way (a final vote on the measure is scheduled for next week), Olympic fans and ordinary tourists alike will not only pay for transit—they'll pay more than ever.
(As for residents, they have a chance to avoid the higher prices, per the New York Times, by purchasing monthly or yearly passes—for which prices are expected to remain constant—or by stocking up on single-ride tickets before the fare hike goes into effect on July 20.)
Mind you, doubled transit fares appear downright reasonable compared with the latest projection for Paris hotel rates next summer.
The city's tourism office says that the average cost of a single night in a hotel in the region was €169 ($184) in July 2023, but in July 2024 the average rate for one night could soar up to €699 ($761).
"The rise is 366% for the two-star hotels and 475% for the three-star hotels," the office said.
And don't think you can depend on Airbnb as an alternative, either. The French parliament is soon expected to pass a law to crack down on short-term vacation rentals by subjecting owners who rent their homes to a new tax.
Some commentators and government officials are already worried that the lodging crunch and sky-high prices could convince some would-be fans that enjoying the Olympic Games is restricted to a wealthy elite.
As Frédéric Hocquard, the deputy mayor for tourism and night life in Paris, told Reuters, "We want popular Games, and it can't be popular Games at 700 euros a night."