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5 things to spot in the Paris Olympics poster

The Local France
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5 things to spot in the Paris Olympics poster
The official Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics poster. Image: Paris IOC

The official poster for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics has been released - and you might find one of two differences between the fantastical poster version and the real city. Here are 5 things to look out for.

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The official Games poster was released this week, a fantastical drawing crammed full of dream-like detail by artist Ugo Gattoni.

Within hours of its released, some right-wing politicians were claiming on Twitter that the poster was 'woke' (le wokisme in French) because the spire of the Les Invalides buildings was missing its cross.

Leaving that aside (because it's one of the most ridiculous things we have ever heard) here are five things to look out for in the fabulously detailed artwork. 

The sea

Keen geographers will note that Paris does not have a coastline. In fact it's about 200km from the sea. The coastline in the poster is in fact Marseille - and it's included because Marseille is a Games venue. The southern city will host sailing events and also some football. 

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The river

Paris does have a river, but the Seine does not form a complete circle around the Eiffel Tower, as depicted in the poster. The reason the river gets such a prominent role is that it's due to play a big part during the Games.

The opening ceremony for the Olympics is set to take place on the river itself, the first time that an Olympics opening ceremony has taken place outside a stadium. There will be space for 326,000 spectators, with 220,000 free tickets for standing spaces.

The river will also form a competition venue with open-water swimming events including the triathlon scheduled to take place in the Seine (water quality permitting).

This follows a massive clean-up operation to make the river safe to swim in, and it's set to open to the public for swimming after the Games. President Emmanuel Macron has committed to swimming in the Seine - although he has so far refused to be drawn on the date for his planned dip.

The Eiffel Tower bouncy castle

Paris' iconic Tower is depicted in the centre of the poster, and it too will play a big role in the Games, with the lighting of the Olympic flame marking the start of the Games set to take place in front of the Tower.

During the Games, beach volleyball events will be played on the Champ de Mars under the Tower.

The Tower will not, however, have any kind of giant inflatable/ bouncy castle thing around it, as depicted in the poster. That's intended to represent the Tower becoming a games venue - and in fact one of the notable things about the Paris Games is that they won't just take place in stadiums and sports grounds.

Famous tourist sites such as the Tower, Les Invalides and the Grand Palais will be hosting sports. 

The giant hand

Just behind the Tower is depicted a giant hand, which those well acquainted with Paris will realise does not currently exist.

It won't be there during the Games either, the hand is merely symbolic, holding as it does a gold medal. Close to the giant hand are representations of the Olympic torch and enormous depictions of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots.

New sports 

The other thing you might notice is that sports are not the foreground of the poster (although there is more sport the more closely you look). The most prominent bits of sports equipment lying around have been chosen to symbolise the new sports for 2024.

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Paris will be launching four newly-created Olympic and Paralympic sports - break-dancing, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding and you can see some of the kit for these in the left hand side of the poster. 

The artist 

Artist Ugo Gattoni said he had rendered buildings "in the way they come to my mind, without any ulterior motive".

"I am not aiming to make them accurate to the originals but rather to make them recognisable at a glance, placing them within a surrealist and celebratory universe," he added in a statement sent to AFP.

The committee said that the posters were a "light-hearted interpretation of a reinvented stadium-city".

It's intended to be fun, and also to give people lots of little details to spot, rather in the manner of the Où est Charlie ? (Where's Wally/ Where's Waldo) books.

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Comments (1)

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Pam Gully 2024/03/11 09:32
I think the poster is inspired, by Paris and Marseille and, as such, doesn't need to be an accurate depiction. I really like this poster and will try to buy a copy.

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