The sailing ship carrying the Paris 2024 Flame is set to arrive in Marseille on May 8 next year  ©Paris 2024

Marseille Mayor Benoît Payan has announced that the Olympic Flame for Paris 2024 is to arrive in the city on May 8 next year and promised “a great popular festival," to mark the occasion.

In a social media message, Payan revealed "a great popular festival will be organised on the Old Port to celebrate together the biggest sporting competition in the world and the millennial history of the founding of our city,“

A giant Olympic mosaic had been displayed at the Stade Vélodrome before Olympique Marseille's match against Auxerre at the weekend. Marseille scored twice in three minutes to win 2-1 and remain second behind Paris St Germain in Ligue 1.

The mosaic was created with flash cards, depicted the Olympic Rings set beneath the date 2024 against the light blue and white colours of the club.

The centrepiece was a burning Olympic Flame, flanked by the red and gold colours of Provence where Marseille is the largest and oldest city.

The Stade Vélodrome is due to host 10 Olympic matches in men’s and women’s football and the marina will be the setting for the Olympic sailing regatta.

The  Paris 2024 Flame is to arrive on the three masted tall ship "Belem", owned by the Caisse d’Epargne Belem Foundation, underwritten by the sponsors of the Torch Relay.

It is scheduled to reach Marseille after a 10-day voyage across the Mediterranean from Greece where the Flame is to be lit in Ancient Olympia from the rays of the sun.

The Greek colony of Massalia had been founded in what is now Marseille some 2,600 years ago in around 600BC.

"By asking to welcome the Flame to our shores, we wanted to reconnect with this great story of sharing, fraternity, diversity and solidarity," Payan had said.

The arrival by sea is intended to signify the environmental awareness of Paris 2024 and recalls a similar voyage made by the sailing ship Amerigo Vespucci to carry the Flame from Greece to Italy for the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

When the Olympics were held in Barcelona in 1992, the Flame also arrived by water at the port of Ampurias, also known as Empúries, which had also been an ancient Greek settlement.

The three masted sailing ship Belem is undergoing restoration work before it carries the Paris 2024 Olympic Flame from Greece to Marseille ©Getty Images
The three masted sailing ship Belem is undergoing restoration work before it carries the Paris 2024 Olympic Flame from Greece to Marseille ©Getty Images

The Paris 2024 Flame is to travel across the 60 departments of France before a scheduled arrival in Paris on July 14, the French national day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison during the French revolution in 1789.

The Flame is to be carried in Torches designed by Marcel Lehanneur, who has also been commissioned to create the Cauldron. 

It is expected that it will be placed near the Eiffel Tower, although no details have yet been revealed.

The Flame will be ignited in the Cauldron at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony along the River Seine on July 26.

Details of the itinerary for the Torch Relay are set to be revealed at the Sorbonne University on June 23, now designated as Olympic Day.

It was at the Sorbonne on June 23 in 1894 that it had been agreed to revive the Olympic Games for the modern era.