Olympic Torch Relay: a sporting and cultural epic to be experienced throughout France

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Passage du Relais de la flamme des Jeux Olympiques de Paris 2024 à Omaha Beach, l'une des plages du Débarquement, en Normandie.
© Paris 2024 / Germain Hazard / SIPA PRESS - Passage du Relais de la flamme des Jeux Olympiques de Paris 2024 à Omaha Beach, l'une des plages du Débarquement, en Normandie.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 15 April 2024, updated on 14 June 2024

From 8 May to 26 July 2024, the Olympic Flame will embark on an incredible cultural and festive journey across mainland France and its overseas territories: the Olympic Torch Relay. Along the way, it will be highlighting France's heritage, the diversity of its landscapes, its know-how, its talents and its innovations. And, of course, sport! There will be more than 60 stops along the way, all of which will be opportunities to get together and celebrate the values of Olympism before the big event gets under way. Let's find out more about the stages of this incredible relay that you won't want to miss!

It all begins in the port of Marseille on 8 May 2024. After a long crossing aboard the Belem from Piraeus in Greece, the Olympic flame will set foot on French soil for the first time in the Cité Phocéenne, which was once a Greek colony. The flame, which embodies an ideal of peace and friendship between peoples and refers to the Games of Antiquity, will then head for Toulon via the splendid Almanarre beach and the salt route at Hyères.

The Relais de la Flamme will then head for Manosque, with a stopover in Sisteron and its famous citadel, as well as the Verdon regional nature park, famous for its Sainte-Croix lake and its famous gorges.

From Provence to Occitania via Corsica

The flame will then make a stopover in Arles before crossing the Mediterranean again, this time heading for Corsica, not forgetting to admire the impressive Aiguilles de Bavella along the way. Back on the mainland, the Relais will take on the famous Millau Viaduct, a true architectural feat, before climbing Mont Canigou in the Pyrenees. After a well-earned break in the medieval city of Carcassonne and a stopover in Toulouse, the flame will strap on the crampons again, heading for the Cirque de Gavarnie and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. Then it's off for a well-deserved rest on the beaches of Biarritz, in the Basque country.

On 22 May, the Torch Relay will explore the Lascaux Cave, in the Dordogne Valley, before heading for Bordeaux, its wine city and the vineyards of Saint-Emilion.

Châteaux, vineyards, beaches and monuments

After a stopover in Cognac, the flame will set off again for Angers, determined to discover the Château de Montsoreau and the Coteaux-du-Layon vineyards in the Pays de la Loire. Then it's on to Normandy, Honfleur and the D-Day landing beaches before tackling the sacred monster: Mont-Saint-Michel.

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The Flame tour kicks off in June in Brittany, in the Brocéliande forest, with its fairytales and legends. Rendezvous on 5 June in the bay of La Baule, on the Atlantic coast, before heading for the aptly named Pointe de la Torche in Brest, Brittany, from where the Flame will embark on the Relais des Océans across the French Overseas Territories.

First stop: Cayenne and the Kourou space centre in French Guiana. Then on to Reunion Island, where the Plaine des sables, the Cité du volcan and the pointe de Langevin are on the programme. In Tahiti, the flame will pay a visit to the famous Teahupo'o wave, well known to surfers, which will be the setting for the surfing competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The torch tour will then head to the Guadeloupe Islands and in particular Pointe-à-Pitre to visit the Act Memorial. This Relais des Océans will finish in Martinique where the flame will admire Mount Pelée before setting sail again for the Côte d'Azur.

From the Mediterranean to the Alps

On 18 June, she will be performing in Nice, Antibes and at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. Then on to Avignon, the ancient theatre of Orange and the Mont Ventoux, well known to Tour de France fans. On 21 June, the flame will be in Vichy, in the Auvergne, before moving on to the Alps, on the shores of Lake Annecy and the Mont-Blanc Valley.

There's a change of scenery, with the torch arriving in Strasbourg, Alsace, on 26 June. After a stopover at the Meisenthal glassworks and the Verdun memorial, it's off to Champagne, where the flame will be strolling down the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, famous for its famous wine cellars. On 2 July, the route heads for the Hauts-de-France region, with a stopover in Lille and at the Louvre-Lens. Then on to the coast and the Baie de Somme.

On 5 July, back in Normandy, the flame will visit Rouen Cathedral before heading for Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley. After passing through Orléans, it's off to Burgundy! Vézelay, the vineyards of Chablis, Dijon, the Clos de Vougeot... that's a promise!

Ten days in and around Paris

On 14 and 15 July, as part of the bank holidays, the flame will make its first stop in Paris, with the Place de la Bastille, the Hôtel de Ville and the Assemblée Nationale on the programme. That's it! The flame will then travel to the Cité Internationale de la langue française in Villers-Cotterêts, before visiting the châteaux of Chantilly, Fontainebleau and, of course, Versailles! On 25 July, for its final stopover, the flame will be in Seine-Saint-Denis. Make your way to the canal de l'Ourcq, the Olympic aquatic centre in Saint-Denis and the Parc Georges Valbon in La Courneuve, which will host a large area for celebrations during the Games.

The Torch Relay will end in Paris on 26 July. There, the flame will light the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony, which will finally mark the launch of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

By France.fr

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