Olympics-With 100 days to go, Parisians grumble about the Games


FILE PHOTO: General view of Champions Park at the Trocadero, under construction for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, France, April 13, 2024. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - With 100 days to go before the Paris 2024 Olympics kick off, many locals grumble that it will mostly be an inconvenience.

Maybe it's a stereotype-come-true of the grumpy French. Or the fact that the city has been busy for months with building and road renovations ahead of the Games, clogging traffic. Or it's still too far away.

But a poll last month showed only over a third of French felt enthusiastic about the global sporting event that will start on July 26.

And with the countdown switching to 100 days, many in Paris said they would leave the city, if they could, or work from home, staying away from the sporting events.

"Am I excited about the Games? No, sorry, I know it's not the right response but I'm not. I'm not excited at all," said 57-year-old consulting director Carole Gabriel-Jullien, who lives in the suburbs and plans to work from home during the Olympics.

"I'm very worried," she said. "When we see how messy daily life already is in Paris, with all these additional people coming for the Olympics, it will be hell."

The Olympics' organisers say they are confident the mood in Paris and beyond will change as the Games near.

But Inna, an 87-year-old retiree, said she would flee to her holiday house in the south of France.

Because of all the construction works, she said, but also for fear of security risks, at a time when war in the Middle East and Ukraine as well as a threat of terrorist attacks have led the French government to raise its security alert to its highest level.

Francois Urbain, a 29-year-old office manager, said he will also leave the French capital. "I don't think the city of Paris will be ready" to handle the Olympics, he said.

Not all will flee or hunker home.

Jacques Etoundi, 55, who works in logistics, said he was excited about the Games and will stay in Paris.

"It's a chance for us to have the Games in France. We're happy," he said. "We're really looking forward to it. We know the whole world will be watching, so we'll do our best to welcome everyone."

He added: "It will all go well. As long as the unions don't go on strike."

(Reporting by Yiming Woo, Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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