The Olympic flame arrived in France, the Olympic cauldron lit by Jul (direct video)

With all sails lowered, under power, escorted by a thousand pleasure vessels – sailboats, yachts or canoes – but also a colossal CMA-CGM container ship in the colors of the Paris 2024 Games, the legendary three-masted ship alongside the Marseille coast from l’Estaque in the north of the city.

On board the famous sailboat, the young crew members greet from the deck, with smiles on their faces, the armada of boaters and the dense crowd present on a beach in the distance, noted an AFP photographer. “It’s crazy,” says one of them, Yassine Nassah, 19, an accounting student from Marseille.

AFP.
AFP.

The Belem will then pass in front of the Catalans beaches, the Fausse Monnaie cove, then the Prado beaches and finally Pointe-Rouge, before going to show off in front of the Frioul archipelago then entering the Old -Port, in the same Lacydon cove where Greek sailors who arrived 2,600 years ago founded Massalia.

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AFP
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REUTERS

“Tifos” and confetti

In the Old Port, where the Olympic cauldron will be lit for the first time at 7:45 p.m. (5:45 p.m. GMT), the crowd continues to swell, under the surveillance of a large police force. Christelle Javelot, 53, came specially from Paris with her husband. She proudly wears on her head the Olympic mascot inspired by the Phrygian cap, a “symbol of the republican spirit, combativeness, freedom of respect”.

At 7:00 p.m. (5:00 p.m. GMT), she will see the ship majestically enter the Old Port. In the presence of President Emmanuel Macron, he will be welcomed by a fireworks display of “biodegradable recycled confetti”, by the music of the Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra and by the essential “tifos”, these impressive banners of the supporters of the aptly named Olympic of Marseille, the city’s emblematic football club.

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AFP
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AFP

Around 7:40 p.m. (5:40 p.m. GMT), the Olympic flame will disembark from Belem, in the hands of Florent Manaudou, Olympic swimming champion in 2012. The first bearer of the Olympic torch on French soil, he will descend onto a pontoon in the shape of a swimming track. Athletics.

An image which will also be watched by a billion viewers around the world and by some 1,500 accredited journalists on site.

Then the Olympic cauldron will be lit, Quai de la Fraternité, at the mouth of the famous Canebière. But the suspense persists around the identity of the person who will be responsible for this mission, and who will perhaps not be Florent Manaudou.

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AFP

From the “Good Mother” in Paris

“It has to be Zidane, he’s the symbol of Marseille, if it’s him everyone jumps for joy,” Jessy Pedrajas, a 21-year-old worker from Istres, told AFP on Wednesday morning ( Bouches-du-Rhône) with his partner, evoking the French football star, born in the city of Castellane, in the working-class neighborhoods of the north of the city.

Installed in the front row from 8:00 a.m., with a cooler and folding chairs, the couple will wait nearly 12 hours in full sun, but that doesn’t matter: “We have food and drink to last the day. We came for the flame and for the concert,” explains the young man, who will therefore stay until the end of the night, with the show of Marseille rappers Soprano and Alonzo.

On the security side, some 6,000 members of the police are mobilized, including mine clearance teams and their 80 dogs, who cleared the 3,400 boats moored in the Old Port. With the agents reporting to the town hall (firefighters, municipal police officers, etc.), the workforce reached 8,500 people, more than those deployed in September 2023 for the visit of Pope Francis.

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REUTERS

The arrival of the flame in Marseille, however, does not only make people happy. Several collectives therefore called for a festive demonstration at the start of the afternoon, to “show that we can have a popular celebration in the name of sport, without exploiting, oppressing or destroying”.

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AFP

On Thursday, the flame will again be in Marseille, where it will begin a 69-day journey across France, including mainland France and overseas. Arrival planned in Paris on July 26, the day of the opening ceremony, for the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

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