In spring 2024, the Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay will begin its journey through France starting in Marseille, host city of the sailing and soccer competitions.
The Olympic Torch Relay is a key tradition of the Olympic Games, symbolizing peace, unity and friendship between people. Before each edition of the Games, the flame lighting ceremony takes place at the temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece, recognizing the ancient Olympic Games. The sacred flame is lit by the sun’s rays and is then carried by the torch. From Olympia, numerous torchbearers selected for the honor will take turns to carry the torch first to Athens and begin its journey to Marseille.
Historically, the cities of Athens and Marseille are inextricably linked by their ancient past and their influence on the Mediterranean region. Founded 2,600 years ago, Marseille is both a former Greek colony (Massalia) and the oldest city in France. Marseille was also an obvious choice on account of its centuries-old sporting culture.
From Athens, the Olympic flame will be carried to Marseille aboard the Belem, a majestic three-masted tall ship. The Belem will carry the flame across the Mediterranean Sea from Athens to Marseille.
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 Following the Olympic flame’s arrival, Marseille will host the first stage of the Olympic Torch Relay, the start of an epic nationwide journey that will last several weeks and mark the beginning of France’s Olympic Games celebrations. The flame will travel across the country over a period of several weeks and finishing its journey in Paris.
At the end of its journey, the Olympic flame will light the cauldron during the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, which will then be declared open.