Paris Faces One Disaster After Another During Olympic Preparation

By: Savvy Dime Staff | Published: Mar 09, 2024

Paris is set to hold the 2024 Summer Olympics from the 26th of July to the 11th of August, but could the City of Lights be heading for an Olympic disaster?

With the Summer Olympics nearing ever closer, Paris is ramping up its efforts to get ready to host the prestigious event. Still, many people have concerns about whether the city will be ready in time, or if it will be heading into a disaster broadcast on the world stage.

The Plague of Mites Could Be a Problem for the Paris Olympics

Paris needs to address a number of issues before the Summer Olympics this year, one of which is its large-scale bedbug problem, which has been terrorizing the city.

Bedbug on human host

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Freezers to decontaminate your possessions have recently become a hot commodity for Parisians trying to avoid becoming hosts to the tiny bloodsuckers. According to The Guardian, Mathilde Panot, the head of the leftwing La France Party, has said bedbugs have “caused hell for millions of families in the country.” Meanwhile, Emmanuel Grégoire, Deputy mayor of Paris, has said, “It’s Hell when someone finds themselves confronted with this.”


Rat Problem on the Rise for the Paris Olympics

According to Forbes, Paris is rated as the fourth most rat-infested city in the world, and its population is rising steadily.

Rats climbing out of rainwater drain in the city

Source: @chantal63/X

Paris has long had a rat problem, but recently, the infestation has garnered more attention as videos of rats running in the streets and at famous monuments have been posted online. The current rat population is estimated to be 6 million rats, which is more rats than humans (2.1 million) living in Paris. Most Parisians will tell you that the rats infesting their city are just a part of “le quotidien” or daily life.

Strikes, Strikes, and More Strikes Ahead of the Paris Olympics

France is used to its share of strikes and protests. However, it has dealt with more strikes than usual in the last year. You’ve probably heard of the two main protests, the garbage collector strikes and the ongoing farmers’ strikes.

Street in Paris overflowing with trash and people walking on the sidewalk

Source: @infotale_in/X

The sanitation strikes led to the streets of Paris overflowing with trash, with weeks’ worth of garbage piling up. The ongoing farmers’ strikes have led to roads into Paris being blockaded by the farmers using their tractors and hay bales. According to France24, Serge Bousquet-Cassagne, head of the farmers’ association, told his fellow farmers, “You are fighting this battle because if we don’t fight we die.”

The Attack on Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is a world-renowned painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre Museum in Paris and has been under attack recently by protestors.

Climate protestors throwing canned soup at painting of Mona Lisa

Source: @soundarc2001/X

Climate change protestors have been making their voices heard in many different ways over the years. Recently, they have taken to a new tactic, defacing priceless and historic artworks in museums and Galleries. The climate protestors took to throwing soup at the Mona Lisa and then standing in front of it. They were heard shouting, “What is more important? Art or the right to healthy and sustainable food?” and “Your agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work.”

Eiffel Tower Strike

The Eiffel Tower had to close to the public for six days as employees went on strike.

Sign in front of the Eiffel Tower reading “Due to a strike the Eiffel Tower is closed. We Apoligize”

Source: @Fxhedgers

As one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, it’s usually open 365 days a year. However, it was recently closed to the public as the tower’s employees went on strike. The employees demanded better maintenance of the tower and better salaries. It has since reopened after the unions representing the workers promised to allocate an investment of 380 million euros ($412 million) by 2031.


The Rising Housing Crisis Poses Problems for the Paris Olympics

Paris already has the highest cost of living in the country, but could the Olympics worsen the housing crisis?

Sidewalk in disarray, lined with tents and trash

Source: @Eyeppl/X

As the Olympics approaches, Parisians have noticed the housing crisis worsening. University students are being evicted so their landlords can rent out the flats on Airbnb during the Olympics. The Telegraph spoke to a business studies student, Johanna Guibert, who said, “So many of my friends are being evicted from their flats in June so that their landlords can let them out at inflated prices during the Olympics. If I didn’t personally know my landlord, I could be in the same boat.”


The Homeless Crisis Increases

A rise in the housing crisis also means a rise in the homeless crisis for Paris.

Homeless man sitting by a trolly filled with his belongings

Source: Wikimedia Commons

With more people being evicted, along with the rise in housing costs in Paris, the homeless crisis is increasing. According to MSN, 44% of France’s homeless people are found in Paris. With Paris wanting to show the world all its beautiful sights during the Olympics, the homeless are being forced to move to other parts of Paris that won’t be as visible to tourists.


A Possible Solution for the Homeless

There is hope for the homeless living in Paris because an organization is stepping in to help.

Barista holding a cup of coffee and pouring milk with the other hand

Source: Unsplash

Change Please is an organization that helps train the homeless in barista skills to try to help them get back on their feet. Xavier de Parseval, one of the founders of the Change Please Parisian branch, spoke to MSN about the government’s current plan for the homeless. “Unfortunately, the plan seems to be simply to move people during the Olympics. From what we’ve heard and read, I don’t believe housing will be found for them. They’ll just be shifted to parts of town where they’re less visible to tourists,” he said.


All Construction Will Come to a Halt

Paris will halt all construction during the Olympic games. Construction sites and scaffolding can be an eyesore, especially for tourists. This is why Paris is entirely banning construction from mid-June to mid-September, unless the construction is proven to be an emergency.

Fenced off construction site in Paris street

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Halting construction and taking down scaffolding, even for a short period, can be costly for construction companies. Morgane Allard said, “It was originally communicated that scaffolding would be banned for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics because it’s an eyesore – but erecting and dismantling scaffolding or stopping a construction project is an expensive business.”


Ailing Transport System

The Paris train system is already ailing. Will it be able to cope during the Olympic Games?

People walking in a train station with two trains parked up

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A large concern for Parisians is the already struggling transport system. With the Olympics coming up, many are concerned the current train systems will be unable to cope with the influx of tourists. Thibault Barbou, a consultant living in Paris, said, “Everything is under construction. It’s impossible to update all the outdated lines, and there aren’t enough train drivers already. I can picture the scenes during the Olympics already, as train after train gets held up because someone has left their bag in a carriage.”


Substance Abuse Problems

Paris police hurry to clean the streets of illicit substances before the Olympics.

Image of a man sitting on grass with a hoodie hiding his face

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There are increasing concerns about Paris’s widespread illicit substance problems. The head of the Police, Laurant Nuñez, appeared on television to reassure the public that the problem would be fixed before the Olympics in July this year.


Concerns of Terrorism

Paris is not new to receiving terrorism threats, but concerns rise as the Olympics approach. In recent months, there have been multiple threats of terrorism in Paris. The Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace were evacuated after bomb threats were made, putting France on high alert. In December, Paris had a terror attack, leaving one dead and others injured/traumatized after a known Islamic extremist fatally stabbed a tourist and attacked others with a hammer on Bir Hakeim bridge.

French Police officers in riot gear walking in the streets of Paris

Source: Unsplash

After the attack, ex-Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on her Social Media, “We will not give in to terrorism. Never.” It seems Paris has a few things to sort out before they’re ready for the 2024 Summer Olympics.