The Olympic flame for Paris 2024 will be transported from Greece in a three-masted tall ship which will arrive in France at the Old Port of Marseille, venue for next year’s sailing competition, French organisers announced today.
After being lit at Olympia, site of the ancient Games in Greece, the Olympic Torch will be taken in relays to Athens before setting off in spring 2024 aboard the Belem, owned by the Caisse d’Epargne Belem (BPCE) Foundation.
The Torch Relay in France is then due to begin from Marseille, travelling across the country over a period of several weeks and finishing its journey in Paris at the Opening Ceremony on July 26.
The full route of the Olympic Torch Relay will be unveiled in May.
Founded 2,600 years ago, Marseille is both a former Greek colony known as Massalia and the oldest city in France.
It shares a nautical history with Athens and will be a key stakeholder during the Olympics, and is due to stage football matches at the Marseille Stadium and sailing events in the Marina.”Supported by the BPCE group, Paris 2024 partner and Torch Relay sponsor, the voyage across the Mediterranean will be reminiscent of a true Homeric epic, taking the flame from the home of the Ancient Games to the country of light,” a Paris 2024 release said.
“A highly symbolic and meaningful journey of sport for Paris 2024 which, along with its partners, is committed to bringing the French people together to celebrate the energy, values and benefits of sport.
“After being welcomed to the French coastline by an armada of boats, the Belem will moor, marking the start of a huge popular festival on the city’s waterfront, a unique celebration made possible by Coca-Cola, Paris 2024 partner and Torch Relay sponsor.”
Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President, said: “Paris 2024 chose the city of Marseille for many reasons, some historical, some symbolic, some geographical…
“The key role that sport occupies in the city and in the hearts of its residents was a crucial factor, as was the city’s close involvement in the Paris 2024 project, including its hosting of sailing and football events.
“We are especially delighted to see the Olympic flame in Marseille because this is a city that reflects the image of the Games: popular, festive, warm and multicultural.
“In spring 2024, it’s not just the flame that will arrive in Marseille: the Games themselves will be returning to France, 100 years after the last summer edition.”Benoît Payan, Mayor of Marseille, commented: “It is a joy for the city of Marseille to be the first phase of the prologue of the Olympic flame and to celebrate with the world its arrival in France.
“Welcoming this big celebration will be the opportunity for the people of Marseille to gather, to vibrate, and to share a big popular event on the Vieux Port.”
Renaud Muselier, President of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Deputy President of the Regions of France, said: “Something historic is taking place here in our region.
“We will show the whole world that Southern France is a fitting stage for the Games.”