Paris and its surrounding region are gearing up to host millions of spectators and visitors during the summer of 2024. Mark your calendars for the Olympic Games from July 26 to August 11, and the Paralympic Games from August 28 to September 8. Join us for an unforgettable celebration of athletic excellence and global unity!

We chatted with a local expert, Consul-General Martin Juilliard in Sydney and a Club Member, to bring you the best advice for navigating the bustling city during this time.

Paris will be buzzing, so it’s crucial to know the top spots and make the most of your visit. Check out these recommendations and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Written by Member and Consul-General Martin Juilliard:

Paris is my hometown: I was born and bred there, and never do I feel more strongly about how lucky I am than when I’m abroad. I never grew tired of it, never felt it like a routine. I’ve been living in this city almost 40 years in my whole life – and there are still unknown places, still surprises. Paris is this great place you get to discover every time you come here, no matter how well you know it.

If you plan to go to Paris for the Olympics this summer (which I cannot do), make sure in the first place you can get tickets for the opening ceremony – this is really the part I’m sad to miss. Not only will it be a landmark in the history of the Games, but it takes place along one of the most celebrated and famous urban landscapes in the world. What you see there will therefore give you an unprecedented view of the city and a perspective you’ll never get to see again.

The same is true about the games themselves, that are really enshrined in the very fabric of the city : many events will take place in the city itself, so come and enjoy beautiful sports as well as incredible places and sceneries : fencing in Grand Palais (a jewel entirely renovated), skateboard and basket 3*3 in Place de La Concorde, archery on the Esplanade des Invalides… and of course equestrian in the Gardens of Versailles.

Paris is famous for its museums: Le Louvre, Orsay and Beaubourg, of course, but also the Palais de Tokyo (magnificent collection from the early 19th century), Musée Guimet (Asian and Oceanian arts), and so many others. If you like Monet: one of Paris secret treasuries and hidden gems is the Musée Marmottan, near the Bois de Boulogne, with the most beautiful Monet collection in the world. Do you consider Paris as one of the most romantic places you could think of ? Go to the Musée de la vie romantique, in the 9th district (a deeply underrated neighbourhood), that encapsulates perfectly the parisian « esprit » of the 19th century.

Paris has a reputation for having very few parks and green spaces. It might not be entirely true – the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne are among the most important urban forests in Europe ; more than this, the parisian parks smell so much of Paris history and spirit. The Luxembourg, of course, an early 17th century marvel ; but also parc Montsouris (near which you can also have a walk in the « Cité universitaire » and its incredible national pavilions), Buttes Chaumont or (my personal favorite) parc Monceau, with its magnificent « hôtels particuliers » (in one of those will you find the Musée Cernuschi, small but amazing for its asian art collection), or, more modern, the Parc de la Villette (you will find a dragoon slide there, a nice and quiet canal, many concert halls…) or the « promenade plantée », which runs from the Opera-Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes and looks like a 4 km-long botanic garden in the middle of haussmanian buildings.

But, most of all, walk, walk, walk – without a map or a guide, without your phone, just looking at the urban scenery, no matter what your itinerary is. You will never get completely lost, and you will discover Paris real personality. Paris is not only about its monuments, its Haussmann avenues, it’s first and foremost what the Parisians made it along so many centuries. Come and see Montmartre if you wish, but do not miss the Butte-aux-Cailles, much less renowned but certainly no less charming. Walk along the quais de Seine – but do not miss quai de Valmy and quai de Jemmapes, along the canal Saint-Martin. Every arrondissement has several villages, small neighbourhoods with a strong personality and « vie de quartier » where you can smell a hint of Paris more than anywhere else.

If you are in the Halles neighbourhood, go to rue Montorgueil, a pedestrian street with many traditional food stores – or, in the same spirit, rue Cler between the Invalides and the Champ de Mars, or rue Daguerre near Denfert-Rochereau (it ends up 200 mrs from the entrance of the Catacombs).

It will give you the opportunity to practice the real, the quintessential parisian sport : sitting at a café terrace. Which is not about resting, or having drinks, but about looking, listening, feeding you up with the spirit of the city that you will feel all around, in this particular sense of elegance (it’s all about discretion and « not too much »), in these glances or gestures you’ll capture… And then if, after a long walk, in the late afternoon light, sitting at one of these terraces, looking at people passing by, you feel the city as a distinct entity, as a person – that might even be, at this particular moment, turning its head in your direction, and, with a slightly ironic glance, have a thin smile at you – then you know you made your acquaintance.

Consul-General Martin Juilliard.