Let it be known: the Paris 2024 Games will be a celebration. At the venues, but not only there. For those who still have doubts, on Monday July 24, the OCOG, with almost trembling gestures, unveiled the map of the so-called “celebration” areas. The map is impressive.
As expected, it promises to be massive. The city of Paris alone will be offering some twenty festive venues, where it will be possible to discover and practice a sport, soak up the atmosphere and watch the events live on giant screens. All free of charge.
As Pierre Rabadan, the capital’s deputy sports director, explains: all arrondissements will have at least one celebration space, with the exception of one, the 7th. Average capacity: 500 people. They will open the day before or on the day of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony (July 25 or 26), and will remain active until the end of the Paralympic Games.
The Seine-Saint-Denis region is also deploying a similar force. Parc Georges Valbon and its 400 hectares of greenery will offer a sporting and artistic experience, with a giant 80 m2 screen, sports demonstrations and six concerts. Expected attendance: 5 to 10,000 people per day.
The Saint-Denis canal, for its part, will be transformed into a six-kilometre “itinerary” between the Stade de France and Club France, at La Villette. It promises to be sporty, fun and artistic.
Not bad. But the best, or at least the most spectacular, will be elsewhere. To experience the Games up close and personal with the athletes, you’ll have to brave the crowds expected in the two venues that are presumed to be the most exciting: the Parc des Champions and Club France. The former is a new addition, the latter an Olympic Games regular.
First, the Parc des Champions. Champions Park. The OCOG will set the scene at the Trocadero, opposite the Eiffel Tower. A “temple of performance“, as Brice Guyart, the Olympic foil medallist in charge of athlete mobilization at the OCOG, puts it.
Medal-winning athletes from all sports and all countries will be invited to take to the floor the day after their podium finishes. They will be paraded from 5:30 p.m., before giving way to a giant-screen broadcast of the evening’s grand finals.
The park will be open for ten days. It will be able to accommodate around 15,000 people per day. It will not, however, replace the more formal Medals Plaza. Around 1,000 athletes are expected to parade through, with an expected peak of 300 medallists on the busiest day. Each athlete will be entitled to five invitations to an area reserved for family and friends.
Second not-to-be-missed event: Club France. It will take possession of the Grande Halle de la Villette, in the north-east of Paris. Equidistant – 5 km – from the athletes’ village and the Hôtel de Ville. The only fan zone dedicated to the French team,” announce the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) and Paralympic Committee (CPSF). A popular place, open to the city, accessible to all.”
The two bodies have joined forces to drive the project forward. For the first time, Club France will be identical for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sixteen days of activity for the first event, eleven for the second.
As at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, it will be open to the public. But, as the host country is obliged to do, the capacity has been significantly increased. The CNOSF and CPSF are expecting 700,000 people between the Olympic and Paralympic Games (90,000 at London 2012, 120,000 at Rio 2016).
A place to celebrate, but not only. “All the players in French sport will come together to reflect on the post-Paris 2024 era,” promise the organizers. Already.