Paris has turned into a giant Olympic park for two days, as part of its bid to host the 2024 Games.
From Friday (June 23) to Saturday night, the French capital is boasting what more it can offer than its US rival Los Angeles.
“This is a great opportunity for us to give a taster of what the Games will be like here in 2024,” said former Olympic gold medal canoeist Tony Estanguet, who is leading Paris’ bid to host the event.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo turned up alongside Estanguet, with the two of them taking to the river Seine in a kayak, while sprinters pelted along a floating athletics track.
“The river banks really allow people to rediscover and to enjoy the river, the city, to have a calmer city, that’s also what sport does,” said Hidalgo.
The French capital last hosted the Olympics in 1924. while L.A. has already had the Games twice – most recently in 1984.
The Arc de Triomphe becomes a velodrome
Parisians are invited to try out some 30 sports as part of the event, including sailing, boxing and volleyball.
On Saturday, the usually traffic-clogged Arc de Triomphe which will be turned into an open-air velodrome for adults and children to cycle round freely.
“When you see all these people, this crowd, everything we share leading up to the Olympic Games, to this candidacy, it’s extraordinary,“said French Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner. “I really hope we get it, I hope we will live great moments like this in Paris.”
The topic has been a sensitive one for the French ever since London beat Paris to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. There’s a lot of hope that this time will be France’s turn. The verdict is due on September 13.