A Century on From Chariots of Fire, Paris Gears Up for the Biggest Sporting Spectacle

Credit: Paris 2024

Abhijit Deshmukh in London

At Tokyo 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympics Games missed its heartbeat – the fans. Next year’s Olympics in Paris will be different in many ways, and the fans will have several opportunities to reconnect with the greatest show on Earth. The opening ceremony will take place along the River Seine and its canals, and around 6,00,000 fans are expected to witness it. All the Paris 2024 Olympics medallists will have a walk to remember at Trocadéro, which faces the Eiffel Tower, and their victory will be celebrated with thousands of spectators around.

With a year left for the start of the games, the important celebration sites for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were announced recently. Paris 2024 has launched their festivities for the upcoming Olympics in France, with the motto “Games Wide Open”. Festivities will be held around the country to allow as many people as possible to get up close and personal with the Games for free.

The celebrations all around Paris
Many locations will be open in the French capital, including the Trocadéro’s Champions Park. This site, which faces the Eiffel Tower, will be an irresistible gathering place for sports enthusiasts from across the world to celebrate the athletes’ achievements and awards. For the first time in Olympic Summer Games history, all medallists will be invited to meet with thousands of supporters.

Club France will be located at Parc de la Villette, in the north-east of Paris, and will host all French Olympic medallists from July 27 to August 11, 2024, and Paralympic medallists from August 29 to September 8, 2024. More than 700,000 people are anticipated to attend the Games at Club France in La Villette, with more than 300 hours of live broadcasting planned.

The Off des Jeux event will replicate the Olympic and Paralympic celebrations around Paris. This free event, which is popular with families owing to its festive atmosphere, will include sports and cultural activities, as well as refreshments and competition screening.

Taking in the Games in Île-de-France
The celebrations will be linked by the Seine and its canals, notably the Canal Saint-Denis, which has been entirely rebuilt for the Games. The main link connecting the Olympic and Paralympic sites begins at Club France in La Villette and continues to the Stade de France and the Aquatics Centre. Several areas will be set up at the Park Georges-Valbon at La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis, a French department located in the north of Paris, to watch the Games, attend concerts, practise sporting activities or even discover the views from an 80m-high skyliner.

The entire country dressed in Olympic and Paralympic colours
The hosting collectives known as ‘Terre de Jeux 2024’ have built a series of celebration locations known as Paris 2024 Clubs, which will offer sports, cultural, and celebratory entertainments.

The majority of the hosting communities will provide Paris 2024 Clubs with at least one celebration site in each city hosting football games (Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Saint-Etienne, and Marseille), but also in Lille and the Pacific Island of Tahiti, where the surfing will take place.


Key dates and figures regarding celebrations of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
4 months of celebration: From May 8, with the Olympic Torch Relay until the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games on September 8, 2024.

14 July 2024: Opening of Paris 2024 Club at Paris City Hall.
25 July 2024: Opening of Paris 2024 Club at Parc Georges Valbon in La Courneuve to welcome the flame.
26 July 2024: Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games Paris 2024 to be experienced in Paris 2024 Club all over France.
27 July 2024: Opening of Club France at La Villette.
29 July 2024: Opening of Champions Park at Trocadéro.
28 August 2024: Opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games Paris 2024 to be experienced in Paris 2024 Clubs everywhere in France and reopening of the Club France for the Paralympics.


Key figures
400 cities crossed by the Olympic Torch Relay across France.
Around 200 celebration sites*, free and accessible, to everyone everywhere in France during the Games.
Nearly 150,000 people expected at Champions Park.
Nearly 700,000 visitors expected at Club France over the entire Games duration.
Millions of people in all Paris 2024 Clubs across France.
* subject to local authorities’ permission.

Also Read: A Year Out from Paris, What Can India Expect from Neeraj Chopra and Other Hopefuls?

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