(Paris) The Olympic flame for the 2024 Paris Games will cross 64 departments – including five overseas – and 400 cities for 68 days, before the lighting of the cauldron.

The organizers announced the route of the torch relay on Friday at the Sorbonne.

“Paris 2024 is the biggest collective project in our history,” said Organizing Committee Chairman Tony Estanguet. The torch relay plays an important role because it has the ability to reach so many people. »

The torch will be lit on April 16 in ancient Olympia, Greece. It will then be transported throughout the country before being delivered to Athens.

The flame will leave Athens on April 27 aboard a three-master named Belem bound for Marseille, a former Greek colony founded 2,600 years ago.

The Belem was first used in 1896, the year of the first modern Olympiad. She will be skippered by French sailor Armel Le Cléac’h, winner of the Vendée Globe in 2017. The crew will reach Marseille on May 8.

After leaving Marseille, the torch relay will pass by heritage sites such as the imposing Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy and the 2,500-year-old medieval city of Carcassonne. It will also graze the famous red wine vineyards of Saint-Émilion and the white wine vines of Chablis.

“These are the Games of the country,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, citing Victor Hugo and his theme of universality. Paris belongs to the whole country. »

Including beyond its borders.

An overseas passage, called Relais des Océans, will begin on June 9 in Guyana and will pass through Reunion, Polynesia, Guadeloupe and Martinique before returning to Nice on June 18.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” said Estanguet, a three-time Olympic canoe champion.

Continuing on land, the torch will climb the Alpine pass of Chamonix for Olympic Day on June 23 before spending July 14 – France’s national holiday – and July 15 in Paris.

The torch will then travel through various Parisian suburbs until it returns via Seine–Saint-Denis – home of the Stade de France – before returning to Paris.

“It’s an opportunity to all come together, regardless of where we come from,” Hidalgo said.

More precise details on the course in Paris will be given on July 5.

Where the cauldron will be lit and at what time are kept secret until the day itself. Many anticipate that it will be at the iconic Eiffel Tower.

A total of 10,000 people will participate in the torch relay. The four relay captains will be Olympic swimming champions Laure Manaudou and Florent Manaudou, brother and sister, as well as Paralympians Mona Francis (triathlon) and Dimitri Pavadé (long jump).

Local police forces responsible for each section of the relay will assist with security. Law enforcement will escort and protect the flame with a security bubble around the torch and its carrier.

Eight people (“Keepers of the Flame”) have been chosen to ensure that the flame stays constantly alight.

They were selected from the police and military forces.

The Paris Games will take place from July 26 to August 11, followed by the Paralympic Games from August 28 to September 8.

The Paralympics flame will be lit in the UK town of Stoke Mandeville and will be carried by 1,000 people.