Paris 2024 Olympic flame lighting ceremony: Everything you need to know and how to watch live


The Olympic flame that will burn throughout the Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be lit during a ceremony on Tuesday 16 April in an ritual that harks back to the traditions of Ancient Greece.

What is the Olympic flame lighting ceremony, and where does it take place?

The idea for the Olympic flame itself comes from the ceremonies of the ancient Olympic Games, which took place in Olympia, Greece on the very site where the Olympic flame lighting ceremony will take place for Paris 2024.

To the ancient Greeks, fire was a sacred element, and perpetual fires were maintained in front of their main temples. During the ancient Olympic Games, a flame burned permanently on the altar of the sanctuary of the goddess Hestia; additional fires were lit at the temples of Zeus and Hera.

Today, the Olympic flame is lit in front of the ruins of the temple of Hera by an actress playing the part of the high priestess, who uses a parabolic dish (known to the ancient Greeks as a Skaphia) to concentrate the sun’s rays and ignite her torch.

What happens to the Olympic flame after it is lit?

The Olympic flame is placed in an urn and brought to the ancient stadium by Hestiada (the priestess keeper of the fire), where it is handed over by the high priestess to a torchbearer along with an olive branch - a universal symbol of peace.

The torchbearer then carries the flame to the Coubertin Grove on the site of the International Olympic Academy, where it is used to light an altar beside the monument in which the heart of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, is interred.

At this point, the torchbearer passes the Olympic flame to a second torchbearer, who represents the host country of the Olympic Games - for 2024, this is of course France!

The Olympic flame will then be carried throughout Greece during an 11-day relay, in which more than 550 torchbearers will carry the flame.

When is the Olympic flame handover ceremony?

The Olympic flame will arrive in Athens ahead of the handover ceremony to the Paris 2024 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium on Friday 26 April, with the event getting underway at 17:30 CEST.

Following the ceremony, the Olympic flame will spend the night at the French Embassy in Athens before boarding the Belem (a famous three-masted ship that first launched in 1896) the following day to head for Marseille, France, where it will arrive to great fanfare on 8 May.

Where can I watch the Olympic flame lighting ceremony?

The Olympic flame lighting ceremony will take place on 16 April at 10:30 CEST and you can watch every moment live on

Coverage of the flame lighting ceremony will start at 10:15 CEST.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024