Paris, Feb 3 (IANS): The Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay will begin its journey in Marseille, host city of the sailing and football competitions, the organisers announced on Friday.
"In spring 2024, Marseille will have the honour and good fortune to be the first city to welcome the Olympic flame on French soil. The Belem, a majestic three-masted ship, will carry the flame across the Mediterranean Sea from Athens to Marseille, two cities closely connected by a shared history," the organisers said in a statement.
After being lit at the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, Olympia the Olympic flame will travel to Athens. From Athens, it will be carried to Marseille aboard the Belem, a majestic three-masted tall ship to embark on its journey across France.
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.
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.
"Paris 2024 chose the city of Marseille for many reasons, some historical, some symbolic, some geographical… The key role that sport occupies in the city and in the hearts of its residents was a crucial factor, as was the city's close involvement in the Paris 2024 project, including its hosting of sailing and football events. In spring 2024, it's not just the flame that will arrive in Marseille: the Games themselves will be returning to France, 100 years after the last summer edition!" said Tony Estanguet, President, Paris 2024.
The organisers said that full details of the Torch Relay route will be revealed in May 2023.