May 21, 2024

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Paris 2024 summer Olympics: here is the journey of the Olympic flame

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The Olympic flame will finally enter France when it reaches the seaport of Marseille, in the south of the country, on Wednesday.

After being lit by the sun’s rays on April 16 in ancient Olympia , the torch was transported across Greece before leaving Athens aboard a three-masted ship named Belem , heading for Marseille .

The Belem was first used in 1896, the same year the modern Olympic Games returned . It will be accompanied by more than 1,000 boats which will parade in the bay of Marseille, before arriving at the Old Port and docking on a pontoon resembling an athletics track.

The next day, the torch bearers will carry it through Marseille, with the final stretch taking place on the roof of the famous Stade Vélodrome , which welcomes fervent Marseille football supporters.

After leaving Marseille, a vast relay journey will be undertaken before the flame’s odyssey ends on July 27 in Paris. Here is an overview of the places where the flame will go before arriving in Paris:

The Mont Saint Michel

On May 31, the flame will reach the famous site of Mont Saint-Michel, in Normandy.

Situated on high ground surrounded by water, the island fortress looks like it was created for the setting of a Game of Thrones movie . But it does exist, and it is very old.

So old that it already existed during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France , from 1337 to 1453. An English attack was even repelled there. Later it became a prison, and in 1979 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Every year, swarms of tourists marvel at its raw and captivating beauty.

Across the oceans

The flame’s journey is all the more unique as it makes a detour through the French overseas territories, called the Relais des Océans . On the waves of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the flame will be in French Guiana on June 9 before reaching New Caledonia on June 11.

It will then pass through Reunion Island , to Saint-Denis – which has the same name as the Olympic village in the Paris suburbs – before reaching Papeete, in the surfing kingdom of Tahiti , then Baie-Mahault, in Guadeloupe , and finally Fort-de-France, in Martinique . The flame will return to France on June 18 in Nice, in the south of the country.

From sea breeze to cheese

Just five days after arriving on the French coast, the flame is heading to the Alpine pass of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc for Olympic Day on June 23.

The Haute-Savoie region is known for its exceptional ski resort of Chamonix, which hosts World Cup events, for its breathtaking views over glacier fields to nearby Italy , and – some would even say more – for its production of fine cheeses.

The Cheese Olympics, if they were to see the light of day, would bring together a solid team of eight Savoyard competitors: Abondance , Beaufort , Chevrotin , Emmental , Reblochon , Tome , Tomme and the very resistant Raclette.

Direction Paris

After leaving Savoie, the land of cheese, the torchbearers will digest in the Doubs region , in eastern France, then visit the Alsatian city of Strasbourg , in the northeast.

Three days later, the flame will reach Verdun, the site of one of the most horrific battles of the First World War . From February to December 1916, more than 700,000 French and German soldiers were killed or wounded during the Battle of Verdun.

Arrival of July 14

The torch will hit the streets of Paris on July 14, which is not surprising since it is Bastille Day, the French national holiday.

The next day, the flame will remain in Paris, then leave before returning to the French capital via Versailles – where the splendid royal palace is located – and the suburbs of Nanterre on July 24 and Seine Saint-Denis on July 25 .

From there, the distance will be very short to return to Paris on July 26, the day before the grandiose opening ceremony where the athletes will parade on more than 80 boats as the sun sets on the Seine.

Flame protection

After the nearly four-hour ceremony ends, shortly after 11 p.m., the cauldron will be lit in a location kept secret until the day itself. Options include iconic locations such as the Eiffel Tower and the Tuileries Gardens, outside the Louvre Museum.

In total, 10,000 people will carry the flame throughout its journey. Local police forces present on each section of the relay will help ensure a high level of security, by creating a security bubble around the torch and its bearer.

By Rédaction Africanews 

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