If you’re looking to travel to Paris this summer, look out, cause the City of Light’s peak season is going to get a whole lot more crowded. From June 10th to July 10th, France will be packed with football fans from around the world for the 15th annual 2016 UEFA European Championship, aka the Euro Cup. This tournament will be the first in its history to feature 24 teams, a striking rise from the maximum of 16 teams in previous years.
What does this mean to your travel plans?
Well, if you’re a football fan, you’ve probably already got your tickets, hotels, and flights books, as this is your chance to see 24 of Europe’s greatest teams compete.
But, if you’re not, then you’re France travel plans will be drastically effected this summer.
First off, where is the tournament taking place?
Over 1 month period ten stadiums in France will be used for the tournament and, if you’re planning on visiting these cities, you should probably expect an increase in traffic around the following locations:
Paris: Parc des Princes
Saint Denis: Stade de France
Marseille: Stade Velodrome
Lyon: Stade des Lumières
Lille: Stade Pierre Mauroy
Bordeaux: Stade Bordeaux Atlantique
Nice: Allianz Riviera
Lens: Stade Felix Bollaert
Saint-Etienne: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
Toulouse: Stadium Municipal
Granted, Paris itself is a massive city, and it may absorb much of the football crowd without too much trouble.
Second, if you’re daring to travel through any of these cities during the tournament, whip out your credit cards cause you’re going to find inflated prices, if you find a hotel at all. Backpackers will still have some luck with hostels or AirBNB, but those looking for more posh accommodations will be out of luck.
Now, if you get somewhere to stay in Paris or one of the other cities, what can you do?
Expect to take the Eiffel Tower off your wishlist. The entire space surrounded the scenic tower is being sectioned off for a 120,000 occupant fan zone where football fans can watch the games on a giant screen. Given that this is during Paris’s high season and Eiffel Tower tickets are already tough to get, you shouldn’t expect to get a panoramic view from it until late July at best.
However, if you can forgo visiting the Tower until your next trip, you might enjoy a walk along the Seine River. Normally a pedestrian zone, the river bank will now feature cultural kiosks based on the 24 countries participating in the tournament. So when you’re in Paris, take the chance to explore the traditions and cultures of France and beyond on a scenic walk by the Seine.
Beyond the tournament, remember you’ll still be dealing with Paris’s high season, meaning more tourists, higher prices, and packed attractions. You’re best bet is to grab a Skip-the-Line Paris tour to dodge the horrific lines bound to spring up throughout the city. Otherwise, you may consider a Paris day trip: there are plenty of sights and cities worth visiting outside of Paris.
Check out our friends at World Nomads who’ve written up a handy dandy guide traveling to Paris.