The most iconic venues of the Paris Olympics


PARIS — There will be no shortage of iconic venues at the Paris Olympics.

From the Palace of Versailles to the Place de La Concorde and of course, the Eiffel Tower, organizers have made sure the City of Light’s most famous landmarks will take center stage during the Olympics.

Competitions will be held right in the heart of the city, in the Seine River and inside historic buildings such as the Grand Palais.

Paris is also making use of its existing sports infrastructure, including the Roland Garros tennis stadium and Stade de France, the national soccer stadium.

Here’s a look at the most iconic spots that will host competitions during the July 26-Aug. 11 games in the French capital.

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EIFFEL TOWER

La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady) needs no introduction and is still going strong at 135 years old. Men’s and women’s volleyball players get to compete at the feet of the 330-meter (1,083-foot) behemoth. They will be watched by nearly 13,000 fans at the temporary Eiffel Tower Stadium on the nearby Champ de Mars, where Parisians and tourists like to have picnics on the grass or watch July 14 firework displays.

PALACE OF VERSAILLES

Once the residence of French royalty, the chateau is one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris. Louis XVI — the Sun King — and Queen Marie Antoinette held lavish banquets at Versailles before they were beheaded during the French revolution. During the Paris Games, equestrian riders will gallop at the heart of the palace’s gardens. Modern pentathlon events will also take place there.

GRAND PALAIS

The palace with its green-tinged glass roof was built for the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900. More than 6,000 tonnes of steel were used to build the nave. Fencing and Taekwondo fans will get to watch events here.

HOTEL DE VILLE

The imposing-looking City Hall has a massive façade stretching high and wide, and gives off a golden hue when lights are switched on at night. It’s been around since 1357. Having stood the test of time, it seems rather fitting to start the marathon from its paved forecourt.

LA CONCORDE

Place de la Concorde will always have its place in France’s gory past. It is where France’s banquet-loving king and queen were guillotined in 1793. Prominent French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre met the same fate a year later. It’s also been home to the Luxor Obelisk for nearly 200 years. The idea to transport imposing obelisks to Paris came about at the turn of the 19th century, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaign in Egypt. This summer breakdancers as well BMX freestylers, 3-on-3 basketballers and skateboarders will share the attention at La Concorde.

LES INVALIDES

The gloriously decorated Pont Alexandre III bridge connects the right and left banks of the Seine River. People crossing the bridge can catch cycling and triathlon events, or look down to watch swimming events in the Seine River, before walking over toward a grassy esplanade which leads to Les Invalides. It’s the more common name for Hôtel des Invalides, which houses Napoleon’s tomb. A haven for military enthusiasts, the much-admired Paris landmark has a giant golden dome standing at 107 meters (351 feet) and is covered with nearly 13 kilograms (29 pounds) of gold leaf. Perhaps fittingly, giving its military feel, Olympic archers will set their sights here.

TROCADERO

From its elevated position, the Trocadéro faces the Eiffel Tower in a stare-down contest between famed landmarks. It’s where hordes of kilt-wearing Scottish soccer fans congregated at the 1998 World Cup, singing “We’re the famous Tartan Army” as they danced and drank heartily. It should offer a great vantage point for watching triathlon, road cycling, marathon and race walking events.

BERCY ARENA

The 20,000-seat indoor arena has witnessed much sporting drama over the years. Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu lost in the fifth set of the deciding rubber against Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the 2002 Davis Cup final. Tennis great Novak Djokovic has won the Paris Masters a record seven times at the arena, which has also hosted regular-season NBA games and international handball matches. Oh, and Madonna and French rocker Johnny Hallyday held concerts inside the the pyramid-shaped building. Located a stone’s throw from the Finance Ministry, it will host artistic gymnastics, basketball and trampoline events.

PARC DES PRINCES

The 48,000-seat stadium is home to soccer club Paris Saint-Germain and where France superstar Kylian Mbappé played for seven years before leaving the club this year. France used to regularly play rugby and soccer matches at “Le Parc.” Fourty years ago soccer great Michel Platini led France to its first European Championship title at the stadium. Parc des Princes will host soccer matches during the Paris Games, including the men’s and women’s finals on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10, respectively.

STADE DE FRANCE

Another French soccer great, Zinedine Zidane, will always have a special place in the history of the Stade de France. The attacking midfielder scored the first goal when France’s national stadium was inaugurated in 1998. Later that year he celebrated France’s first World Cup trophy there after scoring two goals in the 3-0 win over Brazil in the final. The 80,000-capacity stadium hosted the track and field world championships in 2003 as well as many international soccer and rugby games since. It will hold athletics competitions on a new-look purple track as well as rugby sevens matches.

STADE VELODROME

“A jamais les premiers” (Forever the First). That’s how passionate Marseille fans goad supporters from cash-rich arch rival Paris Saint-Germain, by reminding them that Marseille remains the first — and only — French side to win the Champions League, back in 1993. Marseille’s 67,000-capacity Stade Velodrome boasts one of the most fervent atmospheres in European soccer and hosts a total of 10 Olympic soccer matches, including two semifinals. The U.S. men’s and women’s teams each play a group-stage game there.

LA DEFENSE ARENA

Situated near a vibrant business hub some around 11 kilometers (7 miles) northwest of central Paris, the boat-shaped arena has hosted seminars and club rugby matches of Racing 92 since 2017. Now it will host Olympic swimming thanks to its multipurpose structure. The Arena’s façade is made up of aluminium and glass scales and looks impressive when lit at night.

STADE YVES-DU-MANOIR

The stadium is located the northwest suburb of Colombes and links the city’s Olympic past and its present. In 1924 it was the main venue for the Paris Games. It’s more low-key this time around, hosting field hockey matches.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games



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