Paris 2024: 180 boats on the Seine to open the Games. 'X'/PARIS 2024

During the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony on 26 July, a procession of 180 boats, 94 of which will be used to transport athletes, will sail down the River Seine. Up to 326,000 people will witness the spectacle.

The Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony promises to be unique. 180 boats will transport athletes and take part in this unprecedented event. Marc Guillaume, Prefect of the Ile-de-France region, outlined the details on 5 March. 

During a meeting with the Senate's legal commission, Guillaume and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin clarified that out of the total 180 boats, 86 will be used for security, technical support teams and to assist any boats that may encounter problems at the event. 

Darmanin confirmed that "all delegations have agreed to parade on the Seine." Initially there were concerns about the participation of certain delegations, including Israel and the United States, but they have now confirmed their agreement to take part.

Extraordinary security measures will accompany the six-kilometre float route from Austerlitz to Trocadero, opposite the Eiffel Tower, with 45,000 internal security forces deployed across the Paris region. 

All participants in the Games will be subject to security checks, with an estimated one million people being screened. For the opening ceremony in Paris, 2,000 municipal police officers will be joined by 18,000 to 24,000 private security personnel. 

An unprecedented measure will be taken on the day of the opening ceremony. The airspace in a 150km radius around Paris will be closed from 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT) until midnight (22:00 GMT), according to the Minister of the Interior. No planes will take off or land at Charles de Gaulle or Orly international airports during this period.

The minister highlighted that a maximum of 326,000 spectators will be allowed to view the inauguration from the banks of the river. Of these, 222,000 will have free access, while 104,000 will be 'paid' spectators who will be located in the areas closest to the river. The remaining 222,000 spectators will occupy the upper sections. 

Given the geopolitical tensions, managing the crowds at the first Olympic ceremony to be held outside a stadium has become a challenging task for the authorities. 

How to control access for everyone, whether they are watching at home or out on the streets among the 326,000 spectators, who are on the street, complicates the task of organising the event. In October 2022, the number of spectators expected to attend the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony was 600,000, according to Darmanin.