The Seine at the heart of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

In 2024, Paris will become the stage of the world’s most unifying event, the Olympic Games. And it’s only natural that the river Seine, protective and nurturing, plays a central role in the organisation of this international gathering.
  1. Paris 2024
  2. Paris Region in the footsteps of athletes
  3. The Seine at the heart of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

It created Paris. It nurtured the city and sometimes submerged it. But above all, it made it grow. From the first stone of Lutetia to the City of Light we know today, the Seine has made Paris an influential and powerful city. This iconic river, despite being the shortest in France, links up 14 departments before flowing into the Channel. It is France’s busiest waterway, carrying an annual 21.3 million tonnes of goods. Soon, its waters will also transport the world’s top athletes. During the Olympic Games, the river Seine will prove to both Parisians and visitors that it is more than ever before the beating heart of our capital city.

Opening ceremony: the French Olympic revolution

In France, it’s public knowledge that we like to do things differently. So, for the very first time in the history of the modern Olympic Games, the opening ceremony will not be held in a stadium.


The 2024 Paris Olympics are all about inclusiveness and togetherness. And a stadium has only a limited number of seats. But this ceremony will be open to the widest possible audience. We’re talking about some 600,000 spectators. In comparison, the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which is the biggest stadium to have hosted the Games, held “only” 110,000 people.


Athletes and spectators will come together along the Seine and its banks. The 2024 Olympics opening ceremony will take place on the river.

There are two possibilities. Spectators can admire the parade free of charge from the high embankments. Or they can pay for seats on the waterside embankments. In addition, the show will be broadcast via 80 giant screens and a sound system to be installed along the route.

And that’s not all. Usually, the ceremony begins with the show, followed by the parade of the delegations, then the official proceedings. In 2024, expect a revolution! Thomas Jolly, the artistic director, has been given free rein to reinvent the ceremony. The result is a celebration in which artists, athletes and protocol mix against a historic backdrop to tell the greatest story of all.

What also makes the choice of the river for the Olympic opening ceremony so pertinent is that it embodies the history of Paris and France. The buildings and architecture are steeped in history. […] We have visited, studied and searched the entire route to identify elements for a show that will reflect the history of France but also the Parisian identity.

— Thomas Jolly


Save the date: 26 July 2024 at 20:24. 160 boats will carry the expected 10,500 athletes for 6 km between the Austerlitz and Iéna bridges. The parade will end with the French boat at 23:50 before the start of the grand finale at the Trocadero.

The Seine, an Olympic stage

100 years on

In 1924, a ban on bathing in the river Seine put an end to the outings enjoyed by the locals when they wanted to cool off. It was a question of public health. 100 years on, Paris 2024 brings new hope. The event aims to include three swimming races in the river Seine.

Seeing the scale of the work required, it comes as no surprise that this goal is a difficult one to achieve. 1.4 billion euros is the sum made available by the public authorities to make the impossible happen. Measures have been implemented to fight against the disposal of pollutants in the Seine. This requires, among other measures, better rainwater management, the installation of remediation systems in certain water treatment plants and a ban on boats disposing of wastewater in the river.

Races in the river Seine

Three races will take place in the Seine, each with a starting line at the Alexandre III bridge.

Firstly, the triathlon on 30 & 31 July and 5 August. The athletes will take to the river for a 1,500-metre swim, followed by a 40-km cycle race and a 10-km run.

Next come the marathon swimming (or open-water swimming) races, on 8 & 9 August. Women and men will follow the same route. An intense 10-km swim that will challenge both body and mind.

On 1 & 2 September, it’ll be the paralympic athletes’ turn to tackle the waters of the Seine for the para triathlon, a sprint version of the triathlon. This entails: A 750-metre swimming race, 20 km of cycling and a 5-km run.

Events around the river Seine

The Seine, which plays a major role in the region, will be the link between many of the competitions, just as it links up the different sights of Paris. The city will exploit this proximity to showcase its cultural heritage. Among the historic sites of Paris, the following have been selected to host various events near the river:

  • Trocadero: road cycling start and finish line, and athletics
  • Eiffel Tower: beach volleyball and blind football
  • City Hall: athletics
  • Accor Arena: basketball, artistic gymnastics, trampolining and wheelchair basketball
  • Place de la Concorde: 3x3 basketball, Freestyle BMX, breakdancing and skateboarding

The Seine after the Games: to swim or not to swim?

Large-scale works require a long-term outlook. The Olympic Games are a great opportunity for Paris to achieve a cleaner Seine and create future bathing areas. For now, the three sites officially selected are:

  • The Rives de Seine park with a view of the island, Île Saint-Louis
  • Near Port de Grenelle, opposite the Île aux Cygnes
  • At Port de Bercy near the Simone de Beauvoir bridge

Pending their creation, why not visit one of the Paris-Plage beaches, or the Polpo barge?

Athletes at the waterside (almost)

Olympic Village

Construction work on the Athletes’ Village should be completed by the end of 2023. So you still have time to take a guided tour of the 52-hectare construction site.

Its location, straddling Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine and Île-Saint-Denis, has been strategically chosen. During the Games, the 14,500 athletes and their companions will be able to reach the various competition sites by travelling on the river Seine. The lucky competitors will hence avoid the traffic and enjoy lovely views of the banks of the Seine listed as UNESCO World Heritage.

Post-Olympic Village

The Olympic Games have always given host countries an opportunity to erect new buildings or renovate old ones. For the Athletes’ Village, Paris is doing both, with:

  • 6,000 residents standing to benefit;
  • More than 2,800 new housing units, including 2,000 family homes;
  • 800 apartments;
  • A student residence;
  • A hotel;
  • 2 new schools;
  • 6 hectares of green spaces, including a public park in the heart of the district;
  • Green spaces set aside for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles;
  • 120,000 m² of business premises, offices and services accommodating up to 6,000 employees;
  • 3,200 m² of neighbourhood shops.

The future district is intended to become a lively hub where people interact. Above all, it demonstrates the Paris Region’s commitment, and more generally that of France, to encourage environmental mindfulness.

The Seine, an alternative way to travel

Meandering on the river

During the Olympic Games, certain parts of the Seine will be protected. These include the area outside the Athletes’ Village and the section where the swimming races will take place. Before the river becomes a sporting playground, why not enjoy a cruise to admire the scenery?

There’s a wide choice with something for everyone. Our latest favourite? Ducasse sur Seine, a gastronomy cruise on an all-electric boat.

Cruise on the Seine

Non-motorised sailing

To preserve the tranquillity of the Seine, especially in the areas where it flows through natural surroundings, nothing beats a non-motorised vessel. Be it a canoe, kayak or paddleboard, a sailing boat, rowing boat or dinghy, you’ll enjoy a very pleasant trip.

Rallye nautique
Nautic Park
Nestled in a lovely wooded area on the banks of the Seine in western Paris, Nautic Park is a great spot to try out water-based activities with family or friends.
Rando canoë-kayak
Nature & outdoor Strolls
Enjoy activities in the great outdoors with Canoseine and make unforgettable memories!

An alternative tour of the capital

The 2024 Olympic Games will reveal a facet of Paris that’s completely different from what we see from day to day. This event gives Parisians and visitors an opportunity to (re)discover the capital from a brand new angle.

Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre
Art & culture
Set in the heart of Paris, the former French royal palace today is home to one of the largest and most renowned art collections in the world.
Tour Eiffel
Eiffel Tower
Art & culture
More than a century after it was built, the Eiffel Tower, as modern and ethereal as ever, has come to symbolise Paris for the whole world.
Famile, Nymphéas de Monet
Musée d’Orsay
Art & culture
Set in a former railway station, the magnificent Musée d’Orsay is known across the world for its unique collection of Impressionist paintings.
Jardin des Tuileries
Garden of Tuileries
Nature & outdoor
Emblematic of 16th-century French formal gardens, the Tuileries Garden is perfect for a stroll before or after your visit to the Louvre.
Jardin des Plantes
Garden of Plants
Nature & outdoor
Installed on the Left Bank of the Seine, the Jardin des Plantes and its botanical treasures encourage meandering and discovery.

Also to be discovered