four digits on the opening ceremony, 500 days before the Olympics

For the first time, the over 10,000 athletes will not parade in a stadium, but aboard boats on the Seine.

A new stage for the Games: the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics will not take place in a stadium, but on the water. A first. Between the desire to offer the world an unprecedented event and the imperative of security, the preparation of the ceremony of July 26, 2024 is a headache for the actors involved (State, Organizing Committee and City of Paris). Less than a year and a half before D-Day, franceinfo returns in four figures on this fashion show on the Seine.

1 6km on the Seine

The Seine as a common thread. On July 26, 2024, 10,500 athletes go down the river by boat for 6 km. The delegations of the 206 nations will board at 20:24 sharp, at the Pont d’Austerlitz, and will pass through several emblematic places of the French capital, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral or the Louvre Museum. Arrival is scheduled for 11.50pm at the Eiffel Tower.

2 600,000 spectators expected

It’s a change of size. The opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics will be able to welcome 600,000 spectators, assures the official website of the Games, “about ten times the capacity of a stadium in Olympic configuration”. In November, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin cited 100,000 paying spectators on the lower quays and 500,000 free on the upper quays of the Seine. With the establishment of a free ticket office to control the crowds on site. The town hall, which has favored a no-ticket scenario, has finally agreed with the government. “We won’t do one vsasus nice”thus assures the former rugby player Pierre Rabadan, the assistant for sports and the Olympics at the Paris town hall.

Access to high platforms will be divided into different zones, according to the elected official: “One ticket will allow access to one area, we will not be able to wander from Bercy to the Trocadero.” The public will also not be able to walk on the bridges. Some will be reserved for logistics, lighting or sound. Others to paying spectators. And still others to the emergency services and safety in case of evacuation.

For the moment, the figure of 600,000 spectators is not officially under discussion, but, according to AFP, some are already suggesting reducing it to 500,000 or even 400,000, for safety reasons.

3 About 160 boats

“It concerns the number of boats that will make up the fleet”, according to the official Paris 2024 website. While they usually have to wait in the wings, athletes will have plenty of time to take in the scenery and wave to spectators from their boat. Some boats will be reserved for athletes, others for safety and organizers.

>> Paris 2024: Athletes’ Village, Arena, Aquatic Centre… 500 days after launch, where are the permanent construction sites for the Games?

4 35,000 policemen and gendarmes

For the opening ceremony alone, Gérald Darmanin plans to mobilize 35,000 police and gendarmes. The minister counts on an average of 30,000 police force members per day during the duration of the Games, from 26 July to 11 August.

It also puts the need for private security officers at 25,000 to secure race sites, under the responsibility of the Organizing Committee. At the end of February, only 3,000 of these agents had been hired and 1,800 were in training, according to the prefecture of the Ile-de-France region.

The Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI) and other intelligence services will also be fully mobilised, given the very high threats surrounding world events such as the Olympics.

Add a Comment