Wednesday, July 12, 2023

We're going to the Paris Olympics next year and I'm pretty sure we'll be sleeping in the street

Some months ago, my daughter Elissa called and asked, "Hey, do you want to go to the Olympics?"

My response was a somewhat bemused, "What?"

She repeated the question.

"The answer to that is always 'yes,'" I replied, "but tell me more."

It turned out Elissa had won a lottery giving her the right to purchase tickets for up to three events at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Seeing the Summer Olympics in person has long been a bucket list item of mine, so I didn't need to be asked twice.

When the day came to buy tickets online, Elissa was equipped with a list of our preferred events and the amount we were willing to pay. As you might imagine, some sports are more popular than others, to the point that you're much more likely to score front-row seats to, say, handball than you are for women's gymnastics.

Elissa spent a frantic 15 minutes typing and scrolling, coming away with four tickets each to a women's quarterfinal field hockey match, a women's quarterfinal soccer match, and the one thing on which I had my heart set, a full day of track and field.

In the event, gaining admission to these events was the easy part. And I'm sure we'll have no problems booking a suitable flight to take Elissa, Terry, Mark and me to France next summer.

The issue lies with our accommodations. We immediately tried booking Airbnb and Vrbo houses, only to be denied each time without explanation.

No explanation was needed, though. The owners of these rental properties are (wisely) going to jack up the prices by a factor of 3x or more, and they were all waiting for the market to sort itself out before fixing their fees and accepting reservations.

We also tried several hotels, but in most cases, you couldn't book anything outside of a 365-day (and in some cases a 400-day) window preceding your arrival.

Now we're getting to the point of being one year out, and as I type this, we're still looking for places to lay our heads for the week we plan to be in Paris. The cheapest VRBOs are $3,600 for six nights, which actually isn't bad but also doesn't provide the type of bed situation we need.

We may ultimately end up staying somewhere outside of Paris and taking a train into the city each day, which would be OK.

But part of me still wonders how comfortable a sleeping bag under the Arc de Triomphe would be on a warm French summer night.

(NOTE: A few days ago, long after this post was already written, we were able to procure a nice Airbnb in Paris. That's a relief, of course, but I hope you don't mind me having strung you along there for a couple of minutes.)


  1. This sounds exciting on a couple of different levels. Sacre bleu! --Peter Vertes

    1. Thanks, Peter. Now that we do actually have a place to stay, that takes away some of the less-enjoyable excitement! We're all looking forward to it. Work has taken me to and through London and Paris multiple times each, but my wife has yet to visit either one, so I'm going to enjoy watching her take in both cities as a first-timer.