The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will stage the first-ever opening ceremony outside of a stadium environment with the athletes’ parade to be held along the River Seine.
Organisers have outlined plans for the parade of athletes to be held on the French capital city’s arterial waterway, with boats for each national delegation. The parade will come to the end of its 6km route in front of the Trocadéro, where the remaining elements of the Olympic protocol and final shows will take place. Each boat will be equipped with cameras to allow television and online viewers to see the athletes up close.
At least 600,000 spectators will be able to attend the festivities, which is around 10 times more than would be able to fit in Paris 2024’s main stadium, the Stade de France. Admission will be free for most spectators, with those wishing to access the lower quays, from the Austerlitz bridge to the Iéna bridge, needing to purchase tickets.
Eighty giant screens and a network of speakers will allow spectators to experience the atmosphere of the show that will kick off the Paris 2024 Games. The plans have been formulated by Paris 2024 organisers, the City of Paris, the French government, the IOC and the French Olympic Committee.
Organisers said in a statement: “The opening ceremony for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will be the largest ever held in the history of the Games. It will be open to all: local residents from Paris and its region, along with visitors from all over France and around the world.
“Thinking outside the box, revolutionising the Games, yet remaining accessible to a large audience is the challenge met by Paris 2024. The opening ceremony is being remade anew, transferred to the heart of the impressive playing field the athletes will make their own as soon as it ends, the City of Light itself, in the greatest popular celebration of sports, right in the heart of Paris.”
The athletes’ parade will depart from the Austerlitz bridge, beside the Jardin des Plantes, making its way around the two islands at the centre of the city, the Île Saint Louis and the Île de la Cité, then passing under the eight to 10 bridges and gateways. The parade will pass Paris 2024 venues such as the Place de la Concorde, the Esplanade des Invalides, the Grand Palais, and lastly the Iéna bridge where the parade will come to a stop before the Trocadéro for the ceremony’s finale.
The 78,000-capacity Stade de France, which opened ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, will host track and field at Paris 2024.