The Olympic flame to be lit in Ancient Olympia on 16 April. GETTY IMAGES

The Olympic Flame will be lit on in ancient Olympia on 16 April, marking the start of a journey that will culminate in Paris on 26 July for the official opening of the thirty-third modern Olympic Games.

The Paris 2024 Olympic flame lighting and handover ceremony will take place on Tuesday 16 April 2024 at 10:30 CEST. This momentous occasion will mark a significant milestone in the history of the Paris 2024 Games, kicking off the process that will culminate with the cauldron in the French capital. The Olympic Flame for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece, before being transported across Greece to Athens for the handover ceremony with a delegation from the Paris 2024 Organising Committee at the Panathenaic Stadium on Friday 26 April at 17:30 CEST.

After the handover, the flame will spend the night at the French Embassy in Athens, before embarking the following day on the three-mast ship "Belem" to Marseille, France, where it will arrive on the Mediterranean coast on 8 May.

The "Belem" will carry the Olympic Flame to Marseille. GETTY IMAGES

The event will be broadcast live by Olympic Channel Services (OCS), who will produce live coverage of the flame lighting and the handover ceremonies. The coverage will be free of charge.

The Olympic torch relay will spend two months travelling across France, connecting with local communities and generating excitement in the months leading up to the Olympic Games.

The Olympic flame will visit places such as Lascaux (south-west France), the site of the famous cave paintings, the medieval fortress of Carcassonne (Occitania), the Palace of Versailles and the castles of the Loire Valley. The Olympic flame will also illuminate great works of architecture such as churches and abbeys, including the iconic Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy.

Usain Bolt holds the Olympic Torch on the Seine in Paris. GETTY IMAGES
Usain Bolt holds the Olympic Torch on the Seine in Paris. GETTY IMAGES

During the relay, 10,000 torchbearers will carry the Olympic flame through more than 400 towns and cities in 65 territories, including overseas regions such as Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, French Polynesia and Réunion, before the opening ceremony in the French capital on 26 July.

The Olympic torch relay, a modern invention inspired by ancient Greek practices, heralds the start of the Olympic Games and sends a message of peace and friendship throughout its journey. It was first used at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

Modern Olympic torches are built to withstand the elements while carrying the Olympic flame, and feature unique designs that represent the host country and the spirit of the Games.