the opening ceremony in 5 questions


The Olympic rings, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in September 2017. BENOIT TESSIER /…

the opening ceremony in 5 questions

the opening ceremony in 5 questions

The Olympic rings, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in September 2017. The Olympic rings, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in September 2017. BENOIT TESSIER / REUTERS

It is the flagship event that will kick off the Olympic Games (OG) in Paris in the summer of 2024. The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is intended to be very ambitious, and for the first time in history, the celebrations will take place outside the walls of a stadium. Less than 500 days from its launch, and while a first presentation of the artistic concept of the event must be made before the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Wednesday April 12, the contours of this ceremony, named “Olympic Seine” , become clearer.

Which course was chosen?

On Friday July 26, 2024, the start will be given at 8:24 p.m. The athletes of each national delegation will then begin their procession along the Seine, from the Pont d’Austerlitz to the Pont d’Iéna, 6 kilometers downstream. They will board a flotilla of 140 to 170 boats, estimate provided by the prefect of the Ile-de-France region, Marc Guillaume, Thursday March 30.

The latter particularly insisted on the logistical challenge of transporting more than 10,000 athletes: “When the Greek boat [le premier, selon la tradition olympique] will arrive at the Trocadéro, the French boat which will leave last will probably not have left yet. » The nautical parade should therefore end around 11:50 p.m., when all the delegations will have docked at the Trocadero, where the Olympic cauldron will be installed and where the final show will take place.

How many people can attend the ceremony?

On December 13, 2021, the Paris 2024 Board of Directors validated the project for such a ceremony, hoping “at least 600,000 spectators” to come and observe the Olympic procession. During his hearing in the Senate in October 2022, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, confirmed this figure, specifying that 100,000 places would be paid for – the low platforms –, while the others – the high platforms and certain bridges. , not reserved for logistics – would be accessible via a free ticket office.

The latter should distribute the visitors according to about twenty zones, in order to avoid wanderings all along the quays. Officially, this gauge has not been questioned, but it could be lowered to 500,000 or even 400,000 for security reasons. “We are working on this area-by-area gauge. We don’t have a totem number”recalled, on March 13, Tony Estanguet, the president of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop).

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What means will be mobilized to ensure safety?

It is the file which crystallizes the tensions. Faced with such a high gauge, the question arises: how will the police be able to manage the flows, knowing that more than a million Parisians will be circulating in the public space that day?

In the fall of 2022, Gérald Darmanin announced the mobilization of 35,000 police officers for the opening ceremony. That is a higher number than the 30,000 members of the security forces mobilized every day during the Olympics.

To lead these teams, the Cojop appointed, Wednesday, April 5, a new director of security. Bruno Le Ray, former military governor of Paris, who has already worked on securing the sites of Euro 2016 football, will be responsible for security within the sites, including ceremonies.

To prevent possible breaches, a rehearsal of the river parade should take place in July 2023 with “30 to 40 boats”according to a senior official.

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What about the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games?

As with the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games ceremony will take place outdoors. On August 28, 2024, the 184 delegations, represented by 4,400 athletes and 2,500 accompanying persons, will parade along the avenue des Champs-Elysées, up to the place de la Concorde, where four stages will be installed. A total of 65,000 people should be able to attend the festivities. 35,000 of these spaces would be chargeable, while the other 30,000, at the bottom of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, would be accessible free of charge.


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On December 12, 2022, as part of the multi-year budget revision of the Cojop, the State, Paris, the Ile-de-France region and the Greater Paris metropolis increased their funding for the organization of the Paralympic Games (including the opening ceremony), to bring it to 170.6 million euros.

What activities are planned during the event?

For spectators who will have their ticket, the organizers provide a life-size show. Some 80 giant screens should make it possible to follow the passage of the delegations. But also artistic demonstrations, planned throughout the course.

In September, actor and director Thomas Jolly was chosen by the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee to plan the artistic direction of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games. And after presenting his concept to the IOC on Wednesday, a more official presentation should take place by the end of the summer.

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Quentin Celet (with AFP)

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