Paris suburb 175km from sea bids to host surfing at Olympics

A Paris suburb 175 kilometres from the sea has joined two famous beach resorts in bidding to host surfing at the 2024 Olympics.

Paris suburb 175km from sea bids to host surfing at Olympics
Paris suburb is competing with Biarritz for the event. Photo: AFP

Surfing will join the Olympics in Tokyo next year. It will stay on the programme in 2024, alongside rock climbing, skateboarding and breakdancing in an attempt to give the Games a youthful look.

Paris suburb Sevran has neither coastline nor river. It has a canal. It also has plans to open a leisure park, called “The Greater Paris Wave”, which will include a wave machine and is due to open in 2023 under the slogan: “Surf'in Sevran”.


Sevran is the poorest suburb in the greater Paris region. Photo: AFP

It is also, local leaders said, the poorest department in the Parisian region.

All this, mayor Stephane Blanchet and regional administration president Bruno Beschizza wrote in a letter declaring the candidacy, makes Sevran an ideal candidate to host the surfing competitions in the 2024 Olympics. 

They said the site would be in an “eco-designed” district “10 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport” which would also include sports for the “young and urban” – skateboarding, climbing and breakdancing.

The park's biggest attraction would be an outdoor surf pool able to generate 1,000 waves per hour and accommodate 100 surfers at one time.

These facilities “will help spread the wealth generated and also the values conveyed by this global event” and make Sevran “a destination,” said the letter.

The president of the French Federation of surfing, Jean-Luc Arassus, has told local media that the planned Sevran surf was “interesting both from the economic and sporting” point of view.

“The artificial wave must be as close as possible to natural conditions, preserving the uncertainty of waves in the natural environment,” Arassus said, adding that, on the other hand, artificial waves remove the uncertainty of the weather.

He also said that there are more surfers in the populous Paris region than anywhere else in France and that “there is great potential to find among this population, a future world champion.”

Biarritz and Lacanau, which face the rolling Atlantic waves on the southwest coast of France, have also signalled their interest in hosting the sport for the Paris Games. 

Many of the other planned Paris Olympic sites are along the banks of the Seine. 

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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.