Olympic flame for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: it is lit! When will it arrive in France?

The Olympic flame was lit on Tuesday April 16 in Olympia.

Olympic flame for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: it is lit! When will it arrive in France?

The Olympic flame was lit on Tuesday April 16 in Olympia.

Through a very solemn ritual, the Paris 2024 Olympic flame was lit by “the high priestess”. In the absence of sun, the latter was not lit on Tuesday April 16 but a few hours before in order to take advantage of the sunlight and respect the ritual. After this ceremony, Greek Olympic rowing champion Stefanos Ntouskos was the first to carry the flame before passing it on to Laure Manaudou, the first French torchbearer. A long journey now awaits this torch with several days in Greece before arriving in France on May 8.

The city of Marseille will be the first stopover city for the Olympic flame in France. It was chosen by the organization because of its location and its historical proximity to Greece. From the South of France, the flame should then travel to the rest of the country, crossing numerous metropolises but also tourist sites, showcases of the French heritage.

Marseille, Carcassonne, Bastia, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Les Sables d'Olonne, Mont-Saint-Michel, the overseas territories, Lille or Paris, the route and dates of the Olympic flame was revealed on Friday June 23 (the places in parentheses are the sites crossed).

For the flame to pass through a territory, the departments had to invest 150,000 euros excluding taxes (€180,000 with). Nearly 37 departmental councils refused to host the torch, believing that there were other financial priorities. “About a quarter of the cost is borne by the departments. The other three quarters are borne by the Organizing Committee,” Tony Estanguet tried to justify. For certain departments such as Lozère, hosting the flame represents a cost of €2.35 per inhabitant compared to less than 9 cents for Bouches-du-Rhône.

The flame will therefore not pass through the following territories: Ardennes, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vosges, Haute-Saône, Territoire de Belfort, Jura, Saône-et-Loire, Ain, Rhône, Savoie, Hautes-Alpes, Saône-et -Loire, Nièvre, Cher, Gard, Ardèche, Haute-Loire, Lozère, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, Corrèze, Creuse, Haute-Vienne, Lot, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Landes , Charente-Maritime, Indre-et-Loire, Sarthe, Orne, Côtes d’Armor, Mayotte.

Around 10,000 people will be able to carry the Olympic flame. Among these “elected officials”, there will obviously be high-level athletes, associations or collectives, people with disabilities or volunteers who have previously been drawn.

Small innovation, there will be collective relays in groups of 24. There will be nearly 3,000. Individually, there will be approximately 7,000. In total, 5,000 applications would be analyzed and studied by juries “distributed throughout France” 'after the official website of "Paris 2024". However, certain conditions are required to hope to become a torch bearer.

You must first be 15 years or older. You must then be a member of the Paris 2024 club or register to be one. Finally, you must nominate a loved one with an argument. the people selected must  carry within themselves “the energy of sport, the energy of the territories and the energy of the collective”, details the “Paris 2024” procedure. This process takes a total of around ten minutes. Each chosen torchbearer will cover approximately 200 meters and will enjoy this unique moment for almost 4 minutes.

Two captains have been designated for this Olympic flame. They are Laure Manaudou and her brother Florent. Concerning the Paralympic flame, Mona Francis and Dimitri Pavadé were chosen. With the exception of Mona Francis, they all won medals at the Games. The first ambassadors will be Marine Ltemporel, Thomas Pesquet, Djamel Debouze and even chef Thierry Marx.

The sporting side will be at the heart of the Olympic torch relay with the French cycling federation which will bring the torch by bike to the summit of Mont Ventoux. Armel Le Cléac'h will ensure the transition of the flame to the overseas territories.

The crew of the winner of the 2016 Vendée Globe is still unknown and the time record holder on the biggest single-handed event has kept it a secret. On the other hand, he promised distinguished guests, but "they need to have a bit of sea legs", he joked during the presentation ceremony of the torch route.

This is one of the issues surrounding the Olympic flame before each edition of the Olympic Games: it must not be extinguished. There will therefore always be a “guardian of the flame”. He will have at his disposal a safety lantern to monitor it or revive it in the event of an unforeseen event. The torch could also be exposed to protest movements such as “no pensions, no Olympics” which occurred in April 2023 against pension reform.

A more serious scenario is feared by the authorities. These are terrorist attacks. A huge system will be put in place accordingly during this “traveling bubble”. Police officers and gendarmes will be mobilized, surveillance drones and anti-drones deployed and security agencies called.