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The “City of Lights” went all in to celebrate the moment

The “City of Lights” went all in to celebrate the moment

The “City of Lights” went all in to celebrate the moment

Perched beside the river Seine, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Paris' Trocadéro gardens are no stranger to crowds.

Usually a favorite for tourists, while the Tokyo Olympic Games were in full swing, the gardens attracted new visitors: sports fans. Every day, Parisians and tourists alike gathered there to watch their compatriots compete on a giant screen.
The pinnacle of the party came on August 8, when Anne Hidalgo, mayor of the French capital, received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony in Tokyo, as Paris readied itself to host the next games in 2024.
The "City of Lights" went all in to celebrate the moment: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet played Le Marseilles, the French national anthem, with his saxophone in the International Space Station and France's elite Patrouille de France air display team flew over the Trocadéro gardens, making the French flag with their smoke trails.
"This ceremony will be a foretaste of Paris 2024," said Tony Estanguet, president of the 2024 Paris Olympics organizing committee. "It's the DNA of Paris 2024 that will be expressed."
Get ready for beach volleyball at the Olympics with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
Get ready for beach volleyball at the Olympics with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
For its third Summer Olympics, exactly 100 years after it last hosted the sporting spectacle, the French capital has ambitious plans.
Preparations for the 2024 Games are well underway and despite the pandemic's challenges, there are no major construction delays, according to Estanguet.
Three years out, the Paris team is keeping their hopes that the pandemic, which severely impacted the Tokyo Olympics, will be behind them in 2024.
"Of course, we are learning a lot as we have done here in Tokyo about adapting to the challenges of a pandemic," said Agathe Renoux, spokesperson for Paris 2024. "We are ready to adapt and we are keeping our focus on our exciting Games."
Mathieu Hanotin, mayor of the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis that will host the centerpiece of Olympics infrastructure -- the athletes' village -- shared in the optimism.
Hanotin told CNN that with spectators banned from this year's Games due to Covid-19, the "celebration was inevitably hidden," but by 2024, "we will be able to breathe."
"What's certain is that we will do a lot of work to bring back the experience," added Hanotin.
Les Invalides will host archery at Paris 2024.
Les Invalides will host archery at Paris 2024.
READ: Closing ceremony wraps Tokyo 2020 after Team USA tops medal table
The Green Games

For the French capital, Estanguet says the Games' two key themes are "green" and "participation" -- Paris 2024 will be the first Olympics to be aligned with the climate agreement signed in the city in 2015.
The Paris 2024 organizing committee has promised a 55% decrease of its carbon footprint compared to the 3.5-million-ton average set by previous Olympics.
The first step towards achieving this goal is by cutting down construction -- 75% of Paris 2024's facilities pre-date the Games and 20% will be temporary. That means only 5% of facilities -- the Olympic Village and the Olympic Aquatics Center -- will be permanent new buildings, 10 times less than previous Games.
"If there is no need, we won't build it," said Estanguet. "We will do with a temporary one."
Champs de Mars will host volleyball.
Champs de Mars will host volleyball.
Following in London 2012's footsteps, beach volleyball will take place in a temporary stadium built in the city center, on the famous Champs de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop.
Roughly one kilometer to the east, the vast lawn in front of Les Invalides will host the archery and the Palace of Versailles' sumptuous gardens will welcome the equestrian events.
Plans for the opening ceremony -- unusually set to take place in the center of Paris -- remain under wraps but organizer Estanguet underlined the desire to "connect the population" with the Games.

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