Paris Olympics opening ceremony 2024: When it starts and how to watch

An illustration of what the ambitious opening ceremony river parade will look like/When is the Paris Olympics opening ceremony? Date, time and how to watch
An illustration of what the ambitious opening ceremony river parade will look like - AFP/Florian Hulleu

The Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, and the Paris 2024 opening ceremony are just a matter of weeks away. The Games will be the first held in Europe since London hosted in 2012.

The opening ceremony marks the official start of the Games, although sporting action actually begins two days before on the Wednesday. Paris is one hour ahead of the UK.

A total of 10,500 athletes, representing 206 countries including Team GB, and approximately 120 heads of states, sovereigns and heads of government are expected to attend.

Concerns over security threats and crowd control during the event have meant a scaling back of initial grand plans, with President Emmanuel Macron stating that France had prepared alternative plans if the ceremony needs to be altered further.

See the full Paris 2024 schedule here.

When is the Paris Olympics opening ceremony?

The Olympics opening ceremony will take place on Friday, July 26, 2024. This marks the starts of the multi-sport event, running until the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 11, 2024.

What time does the Olympics opening ceremony start?

The Olympics opening ceremony is expected to begin at 7.30pm in Paris, so 6.30pm GMT.

Where can I watch it live?

Eurosport is the main European rights holder for broadcasting the Olympics this year although the BBC will still be covering the big moments across its channels and traditionally the opening ceremony gets shown live on BBC One. With Eurosport and discovery+, you will need a subscription.

Telegraph Sport will also be running a live blog of both opening and closing ceremonies, so make sure you bookmark this page.

Paris organisers expect a total of one billion television and online viewers for the ceremony, which will be broadcast all over the world. 300,000 spectators are expected to line the route.

Where is the opening ceremony taking place?

For the first time, the opening ceremony will take place outside of a closed stadium, with an open-air parade of 160 boats – 94 of them carrying athletes – sailing six kilometres along the river Seine at the heart of Paris. The parade will come to an end in front of the Trocadero, where the remaining elements of the Olympic protocol and final shows will take place.

During the parade, performers in the ceremony will be with the delegations and passengers on the boats.

An illustration of what the ambitious opening ceremony river parade will look like
An illustration of what the ambitious opening ceremony river parade will look like - AFP/Florian Hulleu

What is the parade route?

The river parade will travel east to west over a distance of 6km. It will depart from the Austerlitz bridge, beside the Jardin des Plantes, travelling around the two islands of Île Saint Louis and the Île de la Cité, and then passing under a total of eight to 10 bridges and gateways to the end point in front of the Trocadero.

How to buy tickets

A total of 326,000 tickets will be sold or distributed in total for the opening ceremony. A limited number of 2024 Olympics opening ceremony tickets (hospitality packages) are still available from the Paris 2024 official ticketing website.

Who will be carrying the torch at the 2024 Olympics opening ceremony?

The Olympic torch was lit in Olympia, Greece on April 16 by the rays of the sun, according to ancient tradition. After an 11-day relay across Greece, a 68-day French torch relay, using 10,000 chosen torchbearers representing all ages and genders, travelled throughout France. The culmination of the torch relay will be the final torchbearer igniting the cauldron with the torch to officially open the Olympic Games. The name of that person is normally kept secret until the final reveal.

Will Russia and Belarus athletes be at the opening ceremony?

The International Olympic Committee has said that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not take part in the Paris opening ceremony. Athletes from both countries are banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 but individuals can compete in Paris as neutrals.

The IOC said they would not be part of the opening ceremony “since they are individual athletes, but an opportunity will be provided to them to experience the event”.

Who will be performing at the opening ceremony?

Various performers will be involved at all stages of the event, including on the individual boats for the parade. Specific artist names have yet to be announced but one name linked to playing a role was Aya Nakamura, the French-Malian singer. A racist backlash followed amid reports she was considering performing an Edith Piaf song.

Renowned stage director Thomas Jolly has been named as the artistic director for the various Paris 2024 ceremonies.

However, there has been the threat of strike action by performers in the build-up after a row with organisers over pay and inequalities.

Which GB athletes will be attending the opening ceremony?

Depending on the sporting schedule, traditionally a large delegation from Great Britain is present at the opening ceremony. Specific athletes attending are not announced in advance but delegates will be known.

Who will be GB’s flagbearers?

Team GB’s flagbearers will be announced in the days leading up to the Olympics. Starting at the Tokyo Games in 2024, the International Olympic Committee has encouraged teams to pick a male and female flagbearer. For Team GB it was sailor Hannah Mills and rower Moe Sbihi. Other notable summer Games opening ceremony flagbearers for Britain in the past include Andy Murray, Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Steve Redgrave.