The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most emblematic and symbolic events of the Olympic Games. Arriving in France (Marseille) after a traditional departure ceremony in Greece, the flame began a journey of several weeks through different regions. Before reaching Paris for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the flame will cross France, its towns, villages and emblematic French mountain sites.

Currently in the Occitanie region, the flame will pass through emblematic sites such as Lourdes, Gavarnie-Gèdre or Pau.

In Lourdes, the flame will pass through religious and spiritual sites, while Gavarnie-Gèdre will showcase its UNESCO World Heritage-listed glacial cirque with local festivities.

The Olympic flame in Gavarnie: a festive and enriching programme

19 May 2024 will remain etched in the memories of the people of Gavarnie-Gèdre, marking the long-awaited passage of the Olympic Torch Relay, a symbol of peace, unity and sportsmanship. This historic event, rich in activities and moments of sharing, promises to bring the local community and visitors together in a warm and festive atmosphere.

THE GAVARNIE SITE, PART OF THE PYRENEES NATIONAL PARK, IS A SPECTACULAR GEOLOGICAL FORMATION RENOWNED FOR ITS NATURAL CIRQUE.

At an average altitude of 1,375 metres in the village of Gavarnie, the site culminates at the summit of Marboré at 3,248 metres. The Gavarnie waterfall, one of the highest in Europe, reaches 422 metres. The cirque, formed mainly by glacial erosion during the Quaternary period, is made up of limestone, dolomite and marble, and has a circumference of 6 kilometres with walls 800 metres high.

Alpine and sub-alpine flora, as well as a varied fauna including the Pyrenean ibex and the bearded vulture, thrive in this mountain climate with Atlantic influences, characterised by annual rainfall of between 1,500 and 2,000 mm. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area offers opportunities for hiking, climbing and winter sports, as well as being protected for its biodiversity and exceptional landscapes.

Cirque and waterfall of Gavarnie, UNESCO World Heritage site

The day will kick off at 2pm with an enigma race, a fun and educational activity that will encourage participants to explore La Courade while solving puzzles. This initiative aims not only to entertain but also to promote the local culture and history of Gavarnie-Gèdre.

At 4.45pm, all eyes will turn to La Courade to witness one of the most eagerly awaited moments of the day: the Olympic Torch Relay. For half an hour, the torchbearers will pass through this iconic venue, carrying with them the spirit of the Games and the excitement of the competitions to come.

After this solemn moment, the return convoy to the village at 5.15pm will be an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate this unique honour. The afternoon will continue at 6pm with the unveiling of a work of art specially created for the occasion by Jean Jacques Abdallah. This piece, inspired by the Olympic values and the natural beauty of Gavarnie, will be a lasting testimony to this memorable day.

An evening of festivities to welcome the Olympic flame to Gavarnie

The festivities will continue at 7pm with an aperitif followed by grilled meats and a concert by local group Toy Musique. This convivial moment will be the perfect opportunity for participants to relax and share moments of joy.

At 9.30pm, the Akouma company will present a fire show, promising a spectacular performance that will delight young and old alike. The mastery of fire, synonymous with passion and power, will be a symbolic echo of the Olympic flame.

Finally, the evening will be extended with festive entertainment from 10pm, allowing everyone to bring this exceptional day to a close in an atmosphere of celebration and community.

A symbolic step towards Paris 2024

The passage of the Olympic flame through Gavarnie-Gèdre is part of a global journey that links different regions and peoples. Each stage of the torch relay is an opportunity to highlight the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, while celebrating cultural diversity and local wealth.

The French mountains will not be left out, with the Olympic flame passing through the Alps in Chamonix, famous for being the birthplace of the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. The town will welcome the flame on 23 June, with its majestic Alpine setting and sporting traditions.

The Massif Central, with its unique volcanic landscapes, will see Clermont-Ferrand provide a spectacular backdrop for the flame on 21 June, showcasing its geological and cultural history.

Each stage of this symbolic route not only celebrates the Olympic spirit of peace and unity, but also the diversity and unique heritage of these mountain areas, raising their profile nationally and internationally.