On Tuesday, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions announced their intention to submit a joint bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics on behalf of France. Located in the Alps, the two regions have joined forces with the French Olympic and Paralympic Sports Committees to study this bid, according to a press release published on Tuesday 18 July. A collective decision is expected by mid-September.
A joint bid to raise the profile of the French Alps
The joint bid by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) regions aims to host the 2030 Winter Olympics while taking environmental issues into account. According to the press release, the two regions and the French Olympic and Paralympic sports committees have been working with the French government on this bid. Joint work, involving all the relevant government departments, will be carried out over the coming weeks, with a decision scheduled for mid-September.
In the press release, the President of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), David Lappartient, said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in France in 2030 are a fantastic opportunity to build on the momentum of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. […] Together, we must imagine the Games of the future in the context of global warming, Games that promote transitions in the mountain world, Games that are economical and popular Games”.
Olympic heritage and existing infrastructure
The French Alps already have a rich Olympic history, having hosted the Winter Olympics three times. Iconic towns such as Chamonix, Grenoble and Albertville have proven their ability to successfully stage such events.
The last Winter Olympics in Albertville in 1992 left a lasting legacy in terms of sports infrastructure in the French Alpine regions. Many of the Olympic facilities, such as ski slopes, stadiums, ice rinks and Olympic villages, are still in place and have been regularly maintained and modernised. This ready-to-use infrastructure forms a solid basis for successfully staging the 2030 Winter Olympics, reducing construction costs and timescales.
The French Alps are renowned for their world-class ski resorts, offering varied and well-maintained ski areas. Names like Chamonix, Courchevel, Méribel, Val d’Isère and many others are synonymous with quality and diversity in the world of skiing. These resorts already have a solid tourism infrastructure, including hotels, restaurants, transport services and reception facilities that can meet the needs of athletes, spectators and the international media.
Expertise and passion for winter sports
France’s Alpine regions have a long tradition of passion for winter sports, with considerable expertise and experience in organising large-scale sporting events.
This Olympic heritage is testament to the country’s ability to organise world-class sporting events. Local skills, coaches and volunteers are familiar with the demands of winter sports and have a solid understanding of Olympic standards. In addition, the French Alpine regions enjoy strong popular support for winter sports, with a sporting culture rooted in local communities. This passion and enthusiasm helps to ensure active public participation and a festive atmosphere during an event like the Olympic Winter Games.
The organisation of the last Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel and Courchevel demonstrated French know-how and smooth organisation of the competitions, while creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for participants and spectators alike.
Easy access and connectivity
The French Alps are easily accessible thanks to their central location in Europe. The international airports of Lyon, Geneva and Grenoble offer convenient air connections to the rest of the world. What’s more, the well-developed motorway and rail networks ensure that traffic flows smoothly between the various ski resorts in the French Alps, making it easy for athletes, officials and spectators to get around.
More sustainable 2030 Olympic Games
The approach is part of a reflection on the Winter Games, taking into account the changes sought by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), such as the preservation of biodiversity and the fight against global warming.
The press release also stresses the importance of making the most of existing infrastructure, some of which was inherited from the 1992 Albertville Games, as well as the need to reduce organisational costs and to finance the Games mainly through the private sector (partners, ticketing, etc.).
“Our aim is to embody this turning point in the spirit of Olympism. We want to create the first sustainable Winter Olympics. Anchored in the regions, turning the page on gigantism”, explained Laurent Wauquiez.
“We can offer a new carbon-neutral model for the Winter Olympics as early as 2030,” said Renaud Muselier, President of the PACA region, quoted in the press release.
Hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics in the French Alps would raise awareness of environmental issues and promote sustainable Games, with the emphasis on preserving biodiversity, using resources responsibly and reducing the carbon footprint.
Other cities have expressed an interest in hosting the 2030 Olympic Games
As for the 2030 Winter Games, other cities have expressed an interest in hosting them. Sweden, the unsuccessful bidder against Milan for the 2026 Winter Olympics, entered the second phase of the bidding process in June and is now the favourite. This leading Nordic skiing nation has never organised the Winter Olympics.
Salt Lake City, a known candidate for several years and already host in 2002, is also in the running: but because of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028, the Mormon capital now prefers 2034, while remaining available for 2030. The award of the 2030 Games will take place at the latest during the IOC Session preceding the opening of the Summer Games in Paris, the organisation confirmed in mid-June.
France has already hosted the Winter Olympics three times, in Chamonix (Haute-Savoie) in 1924, Grenoble (Isère) in 1968 and Albertville (Savoie) in 1992. Paris also staged the Summer Olympics in 1900 and 1924, and will host them again in 2024.
The French Alpine regions’ bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics is a strategic decision that capitalises on the existing Olympic legacy and infrastructure. These regions offer world-class venues, easy connectivity and an exceptional natural setting.