visuel flamme olympique

Marseille lights up for the Olympics: arrival of the Olympic flame

On May 8, Marseille is set to experience a historic moment with the arrival of the Olympic flame in its emblematic Vieux-Port. It will enter French soil aboard the famous three-masted ship “Le Belem”. Join us in celebrating this emblematic event, where sport, tradition and fraternity meet in a festive moment.

The Olympic Flame: A Historic Moment for Marseille

The flame

According to tradition, the Flame is lit (thanks to the sun’s rays) during a ceremony celebrated in the sanctuary of Olympia, in Greece. It will be lit on 16 April. It will then begin its journey to reach its final destination on 26 July 2024 (opening of the Olympic Games). From Olympia, it will head for Athens to embark on the Belem, cross the Mediterranean and reach land in Marseille. From there, it will cross France and visit exceptional and historic sites such as Carcassonne, the Lascaux caves, Mont Saint-Michel and Versailles, so many places that have contributed to the history of France. The Relay of the Flame is a real event preceding the opening of the Olympic Games, and it will take place in the oldest city in France, Marseille!

Its arrival in Marseille on 8 May

Steeped in culture and history, Marseille will be hosting the Olympic flame for the 2024 Games. This event, a symbol of peace, unity and sporting excellence, will be marked by the remarkable arrival of the Belem. Sailing from Greece to the Old Port of Marseille, a highly historic symbol in this city founded more than 2,600 years ago by sailors from Phocaea in Greece.

The Belem will arrive in Marseille harbour at around 11am from the north. A large armada of over 1,000 boats will welcome and escort her. From 11am to 5pm, it will sail slowly along the coast, from north to south, as close to the coast as possible, in a loop.

It is due to enter the Old Port at around 7pm. A pontoon nearly 100 metres long will be set  up on the water of the Old Port, with an athletics track above it. The    torchbearer (whose name will be kept secret until the last moment) will come ashore to light the Olympic cauldron installed for the occasion at the end of this floating track at around 7.40pm.
Grandstands will be set up on both sides of the flame, with giant screens all around the Old Port, as well as a large floating stage along the Quai de la Fraternité. This exceptional evening will be punctuated by a variety of events, including the official ceremony, a major concert, fireworks and other surprises. Nearly 150,000 people are expected to attend this exceptional event, which will be broadcast live on France Télévision.
The flame will remain in Marseille for two days. It will then head for our neighbours in the Var region.

Activities throughout the day

The Old  Port will be pedestrianised all day from 11am to 5pm. Shops and restaurants will remain open.There will be plenty of entertainment all around the Old Port. Fanfare, DJs, face painting, photobooths, dance demonstrations, participatory frescoes, quizz exhibitions, etc. The city will be celebrating to welcome the flame!

The route in Marseile on 9 May

Its route through the city on Thursday 9 May has yet to be fully revealed, but we’ve already got the broad outlines! The first relay of the Olympic flame will start at Notre-Dame de la Garde at 8.15am and will last until 7.30pm. Over a distance of almost 20km, at a speed of km/h, it will pass through many of the city’s districts and landmarks, including Notre-Dame de la Garde, the Orange Vélodrome, the Parc du 26ème centenaire, the Parc de la Moline, the Parc Longchamp, the Dôme, the Parc Fond Obscure, the CMA-CGM Tower, the letters Marseille and the Palais du Pharo. It will finish its crazy Marseilles run in Parc Borely in an atmosphere of popular celebration. The Olympic cauldron will be located on this celebration site, where it will be relit for the occasion.

Who are the torch bearers ?

On its journey from Greece to its final destination, Paris, the flame will be carried by 10,000 “torch bearers” (as the Olympic flame carriers are known). Rigorously selected, they have been chosen from among celebrities as well as anonymous individuals.
We have the first names of those who will have the honor of carrying the famous “sacred fire” in Bouches-du-Rhône. They include Jean-Pierre Papin (former OM player), Valentin Rongier (OM player), Fabien Gilot (swimmer and Olympic medallist) and Alexandre Mazzia (three-star chef from Marseilles). We’ll give you more details in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

The Belem

The choice of the Belem, a historic ship and French maritime treasure, to carry the Olympic flame to Marseille adds a cultural and heritage dimension to the event. Sailing through Mediterranean waters, the Belem symbolises the link between the past, the present and the future, embodying the values of perseverance and determination so dear to the Olympic Games.

Marseille, beating heart of the Olympics

Marseille, with its rich cultural heritage and love of sport, has positioned itself as a key venue for the 2024 Olympics. The arrival of the Olympic flame in this city is no coincidence; it reflects the importance of Marseille in the French sporting panorama. The city will be hosting several events at the Games, including sailing, football and kite surf, reinforcing its status as a sporting capital. (Marseille was voted European Capital of Sport in 2017!)