A countdown clock for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in front of the Eiffel Tower. GETTY IMAGES

With 100 days to go until the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris, the facilities are ready and the main concern is security, especially for the opening ceremony on the Seine, which is a major challenge.

The Olympic flame was lit in Olympia on Tuesday and will travel through Greece before arriving in Marseille on 8 May, where it will begin its journey across France to the Olympic opening ceremony on 26 July, even visiting the French Antilles or French Polynesia.

An opening that raises doubts

The ambition to hold a historic opening ceremony, for the first time outside of a stadium and in such a symbolic location as the River Seine, has become a headache because of the security measure required.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed the intention to go ahead with the original idea, but also fuelled speculation by suggesting that there are "plans B and C" in the event of a major threat"

This is the first time that the hypothesis that the event took place inside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (north of Paris), which had previously been ruled out by the authorities, has been admitted. The international context adds more tension: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, while the situation in the Middle East has worsened with Iran's recent attack on Israel.

In France, the Vigipirate Plan was recently put on "attack emergency" following a terrorist attack in Moscow on 22 March claimed by the Islamic State-K. "The context is clearly tense," a security source confirmed to AFP.

However, Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera said no specific threats to the Games had been identified. According to Tony Estanguet, president of the organising committee, who spoke to RFI on Tuesday, the opening ceremony on the Seine remains the "main plan" and is "very likely" to be the venue for the ceremony.

The transport challenge

Will the transport system be able to cope with the influx of spectators during the OlympicsGames in Paris, despite the efforts of the authorities? The Paris metro shows no significant signs of improvement, and negotiations are underway on compensation for the workers mobilised by the public companies responsible, SNCF (national) and RATP (regional). 

"If things go wrong [during the Olympics], France's image will be damaged," warned Jean Castex, former French prime minister and current head of RATP.

The authorities are also concerned about the threat of strikes by some unions. As for Paris's Roissy and Orly airports, which will be the main entry points for foreign delegations to France, their managers are preparing to receive more than 60,000 accredited people from 18 July, the official opening date of the Olympic Village.

Paris begins to change

The capital began to take on an Olympic atmosphere. The first Olympic facilities, such as the Place de la Concorde and the Champ de Mars, are beginning to appear on the city's urban landscape, creating a buzz of excitement.

Between February and April, the Olympic Village,the Media Village, the Marseille Marina and the Saint-Denis Aquatic Centre were inaugurated. Since 29 February, the organisers have been preparing the 3,000 apartments in the Olympic Village, which will house 14,500 people, including athletes and delegation members. 

The Russian threat remains

While the participation of Russian athletes is still subject to the current situation, they are currently allowed to compete under a neutral flag and under strict conditions. They will not take part in the opening ceremony, as Belarusians are also banned from the parade along the Seine.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo,said on a recent trip to Kiev that Russians were 'not welcome' in her city. According to Macron, Russia may try to disrupt the Paris Olympics, an accusation denied by Moscow. Cyber security is another major concern for the authorities.