Paris will this week edge closer to launching a bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the delivery of a feasibility study expected to be favourable to the idea to French political leaders.
The handover, scheduled for Thursday (February 12) at Paris City Hall, will trigger an intense period of political and popular debate in the French capital that is expected to run until June.
Only then, in all likelihood, will a final decision be taken on whether Paris will join Boston, Rome and others on the starting-line for a race that will conclude in 2017 at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lima.
The venue for Thursday's high-profile proceedings is quite significant, as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has, until now, appeared sceptical about the benefits of a bid.
For that reason, her public comments - carefully nuanced, as they will probably be - are likely to be particularly closely scrutinised; the use of City Hall also has the effect of underlining that no bid can proceed unless she is onboard.
In what appears a meticulously choreographed sequence of events, French sports leaders are also expected to deliver the study on Thursday to regional political leaders and then the Sports Ministry.
Hidalgo is expected to have her own meeting with the region the following day, after discussing the study with the Paris Council.
The public consultation exercise, which could conceivably include some form of referendum, has been rendered all the more critical by last month's terrorist shootings in the French capital.
While the shock may spawn a sense of solidarity that increases support for big public projects such as an Olympic bid, it might equally make the region's inhabitants more reluctant to countenance an event that could be perceived as making the city still more of a target.
In addition to Boston and Rome, a German bid is expected, from Hamburg or Berlin; other potential bidders include Baku and Budapest, while contenders might also emerge from the Gulf region and South Africa.
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January 2015: David Owen: The faults of the vanquished - Paris and the coming race for 2024
December 2014: IPC leader Sir Philip and French President Hollande meet in Paris to discuss Paralympics