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PARIS OLYMPICS GUIDE

Factcheck: Which areas will be closed in Paris during the Olympics?

The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games - held in the heart of the city - will undoubtedly bring with them some disruption. Here's a look at what is likely to be closed and what will stay open.

Factcheck: Which areas will be closed in Paris during the Olympics?
The Paris riverbanks will play a key role during this summer's Olympics. Photo by PIERRE VERDY / AFP

One of the key concepts of Paris 2024 is bringing the Olympic Games into the heart of the city – events will be held at city centre locations including the Place de la Concorde, the Champ de Mars and the Grand Palais, while the extremely ambitious opening ceremony will be held along a 6km course along the River Seine.

The flip side of this ambition is disruption in the city centre, with some key parts of Paris set to be closed for some or all of the Games periods, while other parts will have limited access for motorists. 

Undoubtedly the biggest disruption will come during the opening ceremony on July 26th – it takes place along the river right through the centre of Paris and it’s fair to say that security services are a little nervous about it, meaning that there will be a massive security operation in place.

With the proviso that security and other arrangements are still being finalised so some aspects may change, here’s what we know so far about disruption in Paris during the Games;

Zones

The opening ceremony will run from Pont d’Austerlitz to Pont d’Ilena (in front of the Eiffel Tower) and the entirety of the route and many side streets will be completely closed to everyone apart from ticket-holders for the ceremony. 

In the days prior, the area around the Seine river in central Paris will begin to be gradually closed off. 

Different zones (red, blue, grey and SILT areas) will be introduced, with varying levels of strictness to enter them. 

Map of closures prior to Opening Ceremony (Credit: Interior Ministry)

Red zones – these are closed to all vehicles and motorbikes, with the exception of local residents, those visiting sick/ vulnerable people, emergency and rescue services – these people will register in advance for a special QR code.

It’s important to note that this does not affect people walking or cycling through these areas, they can enter as normal and do not need a QR code.

Blue zones – closed to vehicles and motorbikes with the exception of those outlined above for red zones, plus anyone who can provide a justification such as delivery drivers. Pedestrians and cyclists can move freely through the blue zones.

‘SILT’ or anti-terrorism zones – These are the dark blue lines delineated on the maps. Within these areas, everyone will need to show a QR code and ID to enter. The online platform to request a QR code will open on May 10th.

During the majority of the Games, these SILT zones will only surround the Games venues.

However, in the days leading up to the Opening Ceremony and during the Ceremony itself, the SILT zones will extend along the Seine river, as you can see in the map above (for better resolution, download this PDF). This means all of the quais, the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité will be in the SILT zone.

In an interview with Le Parisien, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin said that the town hall would help, via door-to-door outreach, to get people living in the affected areas signed up to the special QR code programme. People visiting friends in the SILT zone will also need to show the QR code.

Several museums and landmarks, including the Louvre, will be included in the SILT zone, but they will remain open and visitors will simply be directed to use entrances outside the SILT zone.  

Grey areas – these are the event venues themselves, and will be open only to people who have a ticket to that event, or accredited people such as Games officials or journalists. Security will be tight and bags will be searched on arrival, as is standard at major sporting events in France.

Opening ceremony

On the evening of the ceremony itself – Friday, July 26th – there will be a massive security operation in place that will impact most of the central, riverside areas of Paris. The interior minister said that additional security steps would start to take place at 1pm.

As you can see below, much of the area surrounding the Seine and into the 8th arrondissement will be in the ‘red zone’ (closed to all vehicles and motorbikes, except those with special authorisation) although pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed into the red zone. Only once you get into the SILT zone (the dark blue line) will entry be restricted to ticket holders or QR code holders.

Map of closures during Opening Ceremony (Credit: Interior Ministry)

There will also be a no-fly zone extended to 150km around the city (including flights in and out of Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports) from 7pm until midnight. Trains coming in and out of Paris’ Gare de Lyon, Austerlitz and Paris-Bercy stations may also be affected – at present SNCF is not selling tickets for these stations for July 26th and says it is awaiting clarification from police. 

During the ceremony and the days leading up to it, 15 Metro stations will be closed. However Metro lines will still run, the trains will simply pass through the closed stations without stopping.

Bridges

The Seine bridges along the route will be closed during the ceremony but many of them will also be closed some days or even weeks in advance – some for security reasons and some in order to allow organisers to set up the parade route. 

From July 1st, the Pont du Carrousel will close while the Pont d’Iéna will be reduced to a single lane. From July 8th Pont de l’Alma, Pont de la Tournelle and Pont au Change will close and from July 15th Pont de la Concorde, Pont Royal and Pont d’Arcole will close.

The Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Arts, Pont Neuf, Pont d’Austerlitz and Passerelle Debilly will be closed during the ceremony but the exact closure date has not yet been finalised.

The Pont des Invalides, Passerelle Sédar-Senghor, Pont Notre-Dame and Pont de Sully will remain open – as will all bridges situated further east than Pont d’Austerlitz or further west than Pont d’Ilena. 

It is not clear exactly when the bridges will reopen.

Darmanin told Le Parisien that in the days prior to the ceremony, people will be allowed to cross through the SILT perimeter using one of five bridges open to the public, but they will not be able to stop and police will be there to ensure traffic moves along.

Notre Dame, Sully, Iéna and Invalides bridges will be open to motorists, and the Léopold-Sédar Senghor footbridge will be open to pedestrians.

You can find a map showing these closures HERE.

Riverbanks 

The quais – the banks of the central parts of the Seine – will also form part of the opening ceremony and will be closed in the run up to the ceremony to allow for preparations and for security reasons, as shown above.

Starting from mid-June, certain parts of the lower quais – which are mostly pedestrianised – will be closed to allow for preparation works including the erection of stands for spectators. From mid-July the upper quais – which are open to cars – will be closed to allow for the installation of viewing areas of spectators.

The entire stretch of the river bank will be closed ‘several days’ before the July 26th ceremony, although no precise date has yet been given.

It is not clear when they will reopen, but the ‘dismantling’ process will begin on July 27th.

Games venues

Once the opening ceremony is over, focus will shift to the areas that are hosting events.

There are three areas that will be closed to pedestrians and traffic for the duration of the Games; the Place de la Concorde which is hosting urban sports events, the Champ de Mars which is hosting basketball and the Grand Palais/ Les Invalides area which is hosting events including archery and fencing. 

Around each of these venues will be security cordons – the venues themselves will only be accessible to people with tickets or accreditation (eg athletes, journalists, staff and volunteers), the immediate surroundings will be closed to motorised vehicles but open to pedestrians and the area a little further out will be open but with enhanced security checks.

Work on each site will begin in advance of the Games, with some restriction to access – for example work has already started in the Place de la Concorde, although the area remains open to pedestrians, traffic and public transport work on construction of the venue has started in one quarter of the square itself, which is closed to the public. 

Work has also begun on the Champ de Mars and Trocadero areas while closures will begin around the Grand Palais – Pont Alexandre III area from mid April. 

These restrictions will remain in place until September 7th – the final day for the Paralympics, which come after the Olympics. 

You can find the full details on each of these zones HERE. There are also several Games zones in the Paris suburbs including Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Yvelines. 

Rest of the city

The parts of the city that are not along the river banks and are not part of the three city-centre Games venues will not have restricted access and should continue to function largely as normal.

However, there are a few Olympic events, such as cycling competitions and the marathon that will affect traffic and access to other parts of the city. You can see the maps for areas that will be closed HERE.

Generally, visitors can expect a heightened security presence throughout the city but major tourist attractions such as the Louvre plan to reopen open during the Games while shops, restaurants, bars and café will continue to open as normal.

There will be an impact on public transport with certain Metro stations, mostly those in the areas of Games venues, closed while other services will have an altered timetable. You can find full details on a line-by-line basis HERE.

Scattered throughout the city will be 23 fan zones in which to watch events on the big screen and enjoy the atmosphere.

MAP: Where to find free fan zones for the Paris Olympics

Paris residents can keep an eye on the city’s Anticiper les Jeux (get ready for the Games) website, which is regularly updated with practical information on public transport, pedestrian and vehicle access to sites around the city. 

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PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS

Paris Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal postponed due to strong Seine flow: city

A rehearsal for the Paris Olympics opening ceremony planned for Monday has been postponed because the river Seine is flowing so fast, city authorities said on Friday.

Paris Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal postponed due to strong Seine flow: city

After several weeks of rainy weather, the Seine is currently flowing at a level five times stronger than its normal summer reading, meaning it would be impossible to “draw the most relevant lessons” from a rehearsal on Monday, the city authorities and the Olympics organisers said.

The rehearsal was to have featured around 90 barges which will be used to transport teams on their parade down the river in the July 26 ceremony.

Paris 2024 will be the first Olympics in history to take the opening ceremony out of its traditional setting of the main Games stadium.

The recent heavy rain in the French capital is also bad news for the ongoing fight to raise the quality of the water in the Seine to levels required to stage the triathlon and open-water swimming events at the Olympics.

READ ALSO: Paris river Seine over Olympics pollution limit

The “very rainy weather” had caused “the strong flow of the river, which does not help to produce a good water quality”, Paris town hall said.

According to graphs posted online, almost every day from June 10 to June 16, the level of concentration of fecal E. Coli bacteria was greater than 1,000 colony-forming units, the required threshold used by the international triathlon and swimming federations.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has said she will take a dip in the Seine in the week beginning July 15.

 
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