Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 1.2 million spectators, legendary places visited: the flame continues to heat the crowds

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 1.2 million spectators, legendary places visited: the flame continues to heat the crowds

Armel Le Cléac in front of a dense crowd, Tuesday May 4 in Les Sables d'Olonne. The skeeper will transport the flame to Guadeloupe this May 7, aboard Banque Populaire. MAXPPP – Franck Dubray

A month after leaving Marseille, the relay continues to excite the crowds and raise a feeling of popular support for the Olympics, so criticized until now. The flame will leave tomorrow for the Antilles, aboard the boat Banque Populaire skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h.

More than a million spectators, breathtaking images whether at Mont-Saint-Michel or on the Millau Viaduct, all without incident… The Olympic flame, who has been crossing France for almost a month, and is preparing to leave for the West Indies, has so far launched the Olympics perfectly.

If there was any doubt about the French joining the Olympics, the month of May gave a fairly clear answer. As soon as the flame arrived in Marseille aboard the Belem on May 8, the tone was set. In addition to a crowd of 200,000 people, more than 5.9 million viewers followed Marseille rapper Jul lighting the cauldron, in an atmosphere worthy of an OM match .

Marseille, the detonator

This first stage, without a hitch, was a huge relief to the organizers. “Marseille undeniably started the momentum”, recognizes Grégory Murac, the director of the torch relay at the organizing committee. “Marseille marks a tipping point with the appetite and enthusiasm for the Games”, also recognized Stéphane Troussel, the president of the general council of Seine-Saint-Denis. A shift that was subsequently confirmed.

From the first journeys of the flame, accompanied at each movement by nearly 200 law enforcement officers, the public responded in an atmosphere worthy of the Tour de France caravan, with lots of enthusiasm. families on the roads. Nearly 1.2 million people attended the journey of the flame, assured Tuesday the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, "a popular wave", estimates Grégory Murac.

A week of celebration in Occitanie

From Corsica, passing through Montpellier, Sète, Millau, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Toulouse, then going up through the Dordogne, and to Mont-Saint-Michel, before arriving at this end weekdays in Brittany, everywhere in the 25 departments crossed so far, the same scenes of enthusiasm accompanied the torchbearers along the sides of the route.

Also read:Paris 2024 Olympics: in Millau, Sète and Montpellier, the region was ablaze as the Olympic relay passed through

The flame must now set off from Brest on Friday evening to reach Guadeloupe on the Banque Populaire boat skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h. “Clearly it is a popular success. Given the scale of the resources released, I am not surprised, given the investment of the communities, given the stakes for the organizers. “We should be happy about that,” says David Roizen, an Olympic specialist at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation.

“It was good for Paris-2024 to move away from Paris,”

“I think it was good for Paris-2024 to move away from Paris,” he adds. Mini-controversies are epsilon. The preparation was complicated but things have gone really well so far.

"I always thought that this would be the starting point for the appropriation of the Olympics by the French. Locally, there are audiences, highlights, beautiful images of France. It's a bit like the Tour de France caravan, but without the ads and goodies, judge David Lazarus, mayor of Chambly (DVG) in Oise and co-president of the sports commission of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF). "It’s very French what it is happens, we criticize a lot in advance, and in fact we do not sufficiently appreciate the popular dimension of these Olympic Games"

145 disruptive actions prevented

This process, however, was not a smooth ride behind the scenes. As the authorities feared, anti-Olympic actions to try to disrupt the flame also accompanied the relay, without noise or visibility. Tuesday the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin reported 81 arrests and 145 actions aimed at disrupting the relay which had been prevented since May 8, including 45 from the pro-Palestinian movement and 14 attributed to movements claiming their opposition to the Olympics. Around thirty drones were also intercepted.

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