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Want to experience the Olympic Games in Paris for free? Volunteering could be your ticket

The Olympic rings are reflected on sunglasses, on Trocadero plaza that overlooks the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Olympic rings are reflected on sunglasses, on Trocadero plaza that overlooks the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Copyright AP Photo/Francois Mori
Copyright AP Photo/Francois Mori
By Euronews Travel
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A passion for sports, human relations and timetables are varyingly useful. But you don't need to speak French to sign up.

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Got any plans for summer 2024 yet? The organisers of the Paris Olympics are looking for 45,000 volunteers to help host the Games.

The search is open to people all over the world; you just need to speak English or French and be available for 10 days during the Olympics or Paralympics.

You won’t be paid for your time, but it’s a chance to see behind the scenes of the world’s biggest sporting event, and the first French Olympics in a century.

"Our volunteers will be at the heart of the greatest sporting event on the planet and directly contributing to its success,” says Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 organising committee.

"The positive energy transmitted by volunteers is unique and they will be the face of the Games."

If that sounds like a plan, here’s what you need to know.

Who can volunteer at the Paris Olympics?

The application portal is wide open to citizens of the world aged 18 and over.

If successful you will need to organise your own travel and accommodation. Non-EU citizens need to have the right visa to stay in France.

Countries which benefit from the 90-day rule (enabling people to visit for up to 90 days in every 180) will have ample time to do their Olympic duty. While others can enter on a tourist visa, since the work is unpaid and your stay will be relatively short.

Volunteers need to be free for a minimum of 10 days next summer - between the opening of the Athletes’ Village and two days after the closing of the Paralympic Games (10 September).

The organisers are particularly keen to recruit people with a disability, The Local news site reports, and have set an informal goal of 3,000 disabled volunteers as part of the team.

You don’t need to parler français; either English or French is fine, though presumably both are preferred.

What do Olympic Games volunteers do?

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteers parade following the Team GB teams in London 2012.Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Volunteers are the first people that athletes and spectators meet when they arrive at the Games, so you’ll be the face of France’s hospitality and values.

There’s a range of ‘missions’ within the volunteer programme; from welcoming people at airports and stations to providing info at venues, and even collecting tennis balls.

A passion for sports, human relations and timetables are varyingly useful. On top of the buzz of helping out, the organisers point out its great training and experience for the rest of your career.

Though you’ll have an inside view of the Games, you’re not guaranteed a free pass to any sporting events. “If you have your heart set on attending competitions, your best bet is to buy a ticket and enjoy all the action from the stands,” the site notes.

But volunteering is a cheaper way to experience the Games in other ways. Local public transport will be free of charge on your volunteering days, and you’ll be offered a meal or food voucher depending on the venue.

Though the most volunteers are needed in Paris, some 5,000 will have the chance to travel to other Games venues in Bordeaux, Nantes, Marseille, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Lyon, Lille and Châteauroux.

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