The River Seine will host the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games ©Paris 2024

Paris 2024 has announced the Seine will serve as the venue of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, with athletes set to travel in boats during a six-kilometre route during the spectacle.

Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet had suggested the river was under consideration to host the city-centre Opening Ceremony back in March.

Estanguet confirmed at a press conference today that the Paris 2024 Board and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had approved the location.

The three-time Olympian said the objective was to make the Opening Ceremony more open to everyone, with estimates predicting 10 times more spectators will be able to watch the event compared to its typical stadium setting.

Paris 2024 say thousands of spectators will be able to attend the Opening Ceremony for free, while ticketed zones will also be in operation.

Around 600,000 people are expected to be watch the Ceremony in the capital city.

Organisers say the Seine will be a “runway for athletes”, with delegations set to travel on around 170 boats down the river.

The route will begin at the Pont d'Austerlitz, the bridge located close to the French national library.

The Pont d'Iéna marks the event of the route, with the bridge located next to the Eiffel Tower.

The Trocadéro Gardens will host the finale of the Opening Ceremony, having been the location of the live site during the handover at the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony earlier this year.

Estanguet said the six-kilometre route would allow for full immersion into Paris, with landmarks including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde featuring.

The Paris 2024 President said the location would allow organisers to blend the existing background of the capital with modern creations, claiming the concept provided organisers with “unlimited potential” with what they can achieve artistically.

Artistic direction of the Ceremony is expected to be defined at a later date.

Suggestions include a floating orchestra and projections, with spectators potentially watching from stands on screens located on the water.

Estanguet said Paris 2024 would look to implement ideas used during their previous Olympic Day celebrations, where sporting events have been held within the French capital.

Paris 2024 say 50 meetings have been held with security experts since the start of 2021 on the concept.

It is claimed that no security obstacles have been identified so far.

The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 26 in 2024, with the Olympics running until August 11.

The Opening Ceremony will conclude at the Trocadéro Gardens by the Eiffel Tower ©Paris 2024
The Opening Ceremony will conclude at the Trocadéro Gardens by the Eiffel Tower ©Paris 2024

“On 26 July 2024, a truly spectacular Opening Ceremony will mean the eyes of the world are on the city, proudly promoting the values of Olympism," said Anne Hidalgo, Paris Mayor.

“The ambitious project, which is the result of intensive collaboration between hundreds of stakeholders, will bring joy to Parisians, Île-de-France residents and tourists alike.

“This Opening Ceremony will mark the history of the Games.

“For the first time ever, rather than being contained in the stadium, it will take place in the heart of the capital.

“Along the quays and bridges of the Seine, against this grand and unique backdrop, the athletes will be carried by a majestic flotilla of boats.

“The ceremony will be accessible to one and all.

“The choice to launch the Paris Games on the Seine is a bold one, which is part of a long-term strategy.

“Beginning with the opening of the embankments to pedestrians in 2016, the idea is to give Parisians and local residents back their river banks, to walk along, engage in sports, or simply admire the beautiful surroundings.

“The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will mark the beginning of a new chapter in this story, with swimming in the Seine itself.”

IOC President Thomas Bach has been a supporter of the idea of a city-centre Opening Ceremony.

This followed the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics, which saw an Opening Ceremony held on the Avenida 9 de Julio in the Argentinian capital.

A floating orchestra, projections and sporting showcases have been mooted as artistic ideas for the Opening Ceremony ©Paris 2024
A floating orchestra, projections and sporting showcases have been mooted as artistic ideas for the Opening Ceremony ©Paris 2024

Bach said Paris 2024 has recognised the opportunity and challenges of the city-centre spectacle, but expressed his confidence that organisers would be able to hold the event with the security precautions required.

"This Ceremony will be an exceptional experience for all the athletes taking part, but also, and above all, for the people of Paris, for France and for the whole world," Bach said.

"We started discussing this ‘Seine’ option with the Paris 2024 team and its President, Tony Estanguet, after the great success of the Opening Ceremony of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

“There, over 200,000 people gathered around the iconic Obelisk monument.

“We were all inspired by this magical moment, but we also recognised the challenges it could create.

“Today, I am happy that the French authorities on all levels have carefully considered this opportunity and come to the conclusion this will happen, under the premise of all necessary security precautions.

“The IOC has full confidence in the creativity, flexibility and sense of innovation demonstrated, from the beginning, by the Paris 2024 team.

“They will ensure that the Opening Ceremony is a truly unique and emotional Olympic experience for the athletes, who will be surrounded by the public, being welcomed and celebrated by the French people.

“It will be a spectacular spectacle on the Seine.”