Macron confirms security plan B for opening ceremony and calls on French people to have confidence. GETTY IMAGES

Speaking to the press after the inauguration of the Paris 2024 Aquatics Centre, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that there is a Plan B for the opening ceremony, but called for greater confidence to reassure the public about possible terrorist attacks.

France, which has suffered 22 attacks since 2015, declared its highest level of alert following the 22 March attack on a concert hall near Moscow, claimed by Islamic State (IS), which killed 144 people..

The incident revived fears of an extremist attack on the Games, which are being held in the French capital for the first time in a century. "We must have confidence in ourselves," Macron told reporters, adding, "Yes, there are risks, but there are risks in life and the best way to avoid them is to do nothing. I don't think that's the mission of the French nation, nor has it ever been."

"Until the last second, we will be determined, we will be vigilant and we will work. We will succeed and we will make the country proud," promised the president, who will take office in 2017 and will be re.elected in 2022.

As for the spectacular opening ceremony planned on the Seine, which will see athletes float several kilometres through the centre of Paris in a flotilla of more than a hundred boats instead of parading through the athletics stadium as in the past, President Macron admitted that while it remains the preferred setting, a contingency plan is being worked on, something the organisers had denied some time ago.

Emmanuel Macron (C), Tony Estanguet (R) and Patrick Ollier (2nd L), president of the Grand Paris Metropole. GETTY IMAGES
Emmanuel Macron (C), Tony Estanguet (R) and Patrick Ollier (2nd L), president of the Grand Paris Metropole. GETTY IMAGES

"Everything is a matter of vigilance and attention, nothing is a cause for concern or paralysis. That's my mood and ours," Macron concluded on the subject of security.

The world's most anticipated sporting event is eagerly awaited around the globe, especially as the last Games were unusually spectator-free due to restrictions imposed by the Japanese government for Tokyo 2020 (in 2021) as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Macron has recently adopted a tougher stance on Russia, promising that Moscow must be defeated and not ruling out European troops going to Ukraine, although he denied any intention of escalating hostilities, which did not go down well with the Kremlin. The French president said on Thursday that he was sure Russia was targeting the Paris Olympics, particularly in terms of disinformation.

France will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games from 24 July, with the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday 26 July and the Paralympic Games ending on 8 September, when the security of Paris and its environs, the athletes and the estimated 10 million spectators expected on French soil must be guaranteed.