Paris looks to London with Olympic bid in mind

A delegation from Paris visited London this week to pick up a few tips before the French capital is expected to make an official bid to host the 2024 Olympics later this year. But after losing out before are Parisians in favour of bidding again?

Paris looks to London with Olympic bid in mind
Paris 2012 never quite worked out but will Paris bid again for the 2024 Olympics? Photo: Neil Rickards/Flickr

The 20-strong group, which including the country’s sports minister, visited London on Monday to examine the legacy of the 2012 Olympics in order to learn a few lessons as the French gear up to make an official Olympic bid.

The visit comes as Paris authorities weigh up whether to make an official bid to host the 2024 Olympics, which would mark a century since the French capital last hosted the sporting bonanza.

“We are here to see what is the legacy of the Olympic Games,” said French Sports Minister Valérie Fourneyron on a visit to the Olympic Park, which hosted most of the events in the 2012 Games.

When asked whether Paris would make a bid to host the Games, Fourneyron refused to commit, saying only: “We won’t be a candidate just for the sake of it. We would build a project for France and the legacy can be built in the run-up to making a bid.”

Sporting authorities still have painful memories of losing out to London to host the 2012 Games and will only bid again if they feel they will definitely win.

The main reason why Paris lost out to London in 2012 was because the UK capital promised a stronger Olympic legacy for the local population, which would eventually transform east London.

Part of London's Olympic village was transformed into housing, the old media centre is being turned into a future theatre and the stadium is being converted into a football stadium for West Ham United.

Around 400 to 500 people currently work on the site which could rise to around 4,500 to 5,000. It is expected to take London ten years to fully convert the Olympic Park

By that point Parisians may well be preparing to host their own Games. But do they really want to bid again?

A poll for sports newspaper L’Équipe published in the light of the delegation’s visit to London suggested the answer is yes, but only just.

Of those polled, 51.9 percent are in favour and 48.1 percent against putting forward a bid. Around 55 percent of respondents believe “hosting the Olympic Games is a luxury that France cannot afford”.

Momentum gathered at the end of 2013, when François Hollande met Thomas Bach, head of the IOC, who is believed to be favourable to a Paris bid.

There is a still a long way to go however before anything becomes concrete. The deadline for bids is not until 2015, but if Paris is serious about bringing the Olympic Rings to the City of Light then we should know by the end of the year.

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MAP: Here is where events will be held for 2024 Paris Olympics

Organisers of the Paris Olympics have released a new list of venues for events in the 2024 games - including one 15,000km away from Paris.

MAP: Here is where events will be held for 2024 Paris Olympics
Photo: AFP

The revised map of venues still needs to be approved by the board of directors on December 17th, but is expected to remain unchanged.

Faced with the financial crisis caused by the pandemic and lockdowns, the Paris committee has come up with a revised venue list which its says will save €150 million by scrapping two building projects and amalgamating other events into the same venue.

The big loser is the département of Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris, which was to get two new temporary sites for aquatic events and volleyball.

However the area keeps the Olympic Village for athletes, while the opening ceremony and athletics events will be at Stade de France in the area.


Here is a high-res version of the above map, and here is an overview of the revised map of events;

Lille – The handball events, previously planned for Paris, will be held at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille in northern France.

Marseille – the southern city of Marseille will hold sailing events

Tahiti – will host surfing. The island of Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, one of France's overseas territories, which makes it technically part of France, despite being 15,000km away from Paris.

Versailles – The site of one of the world's most famous royal palaces is only about 20km outside Paris and will host equestrian events and the modern pentathlon.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – the Vélodrome nationale in the town of Saint-Quentin, about 25km outside Paris, will host the track cycling events, while golf will be held in the same town.

Elancourt – the town of Elancourt, about 30km from Paris, will hold the mountain bike events, while nearby Trappes will host the BMX bike events.

Vaires-sur-Marne – the commune about 25km east of Paris will host canoeing and kayaking at the Stade nautique.


But unsurprisingly for a Paris Olympics, most events are in or around the city. Here's an overview of the bigger events.

Stade de France – France's 81,000-seater national stadium in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris will host the opening ceremony, followed by athletics and rugby.

Seine-Saint-Denis is one of France's poorest départements, and the Olympics had been envisaged as a major regeneration project for the area. In spite of the loss of two venues in the cost-cutting programme, there is still plenty happened in the northern area.

Diving, synchronised swimming and water polo will all be held in the Aquatics Centre.

Olympic Village – the athletes will stay in purpose-build accommodation in Saint-Denis which afterwards will be available as housing for local people.

Shooting, climbing and the media centre will be hosted in Le Bourget, Seine-Saint-Denis.

Hockey – will be held in Colombes, in the Hauts-de-Seine département to the west of the city.

Moving within the city boundaries there are 12 locations that will be used for Olympic events.

Swimming – will be at the La Défense Arena in western Paris. A multi-function arena, it is the home of Stade Français rugby club, while also hosting multiple sports events and being used as a music venue in the evening.

Tennis and boxing – Roland Garros – home of the French Open – will naturally host tennis events, as well as boxing.

Table-tennis, weight-lifting, volleyball and basketball – the Parc des Expositions will host these events and the preliminary matches of the basketball events.

Gymnastics and basketball – the Accor Arena hosts the finals of the basketball, as well as gymnastics events.

Football – Parc des Princes, home of Paris-Saint-Germain, will host the football.

Badminton, rhythmic gymnastics – the La Chapelle arena hosts rhythmic gymnastics events, plus badminton.

But the Paris committee is also keen to use non-sporting venues to host events, including plenty of outdoor venues, to really integrate the games into the daily life of the city.

Taekwondo and fencing – the beautiful and historic Grand Palais, which usually operates as a museum, will host fencing and taekwondo.

Cycling – some cycle events will finish along the Champs-Elysée, as the Tour de France does.

Urban sports – this year's new events, including breakdancing, and other urban sports will be held in the Place de la Concorde

Archery – will be held at Invalides, a historic landmark begun in 1690 on the orders of Louis XIV for injured soldiers.

Wrestling, judo and beach-volleyball – will be held on the Champs-de-Mars, next to the Eiffel Tower.

Cycling, walking racing, marathon, triathlon and open-water swimming – these will all be held partially on (or underneath in the case of the swimming) the Pont d'Iéna over the River Seine in central Paris. 

The games run from July 26th to August 11th, 2024, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 28th to  September 8th, 2024.