The three-mast ship Belem will bring the Olympic flame to Marseille, Source: Ville de Marseille

Marseille readies to welcome Olympic flame to France tomorrow

Marseille readies to welcome Olympic flame to France tomorrow

The famed torch will pass through more than 400 cities and towns in both Metropolitan and Overseas France

In the past few days, the port city of Marseille has been busy with a grand street cleaning in preparation for the arrival of an important guest – the Olympic torch from Greece. The flame which carries the spirit of peace, solidarity and brotherhood and announces the upcoming start of the most important sports event on the planet will be brought aboard a three-mast sailing ship by the name of Belem, tomorrow, 8 May.

Belem will be accompanied by more than 1,000 other vessels when entering the iconic Old Port of Marseille where it will anchor to let the Olympic flame disembark. The torch will then be carried for the next two days throughout the city, which will be the first relay stage on French soil.

For the next more than two months, the Olympic flame will visit more than 400 cities and towns on French territory, and this also includes Overseas departments, such as Reunion, Martinique and French Polynesia.

Why was Marseille chosen as the city to welcome the Olympic flame?

Marseille is France’s second-largest city and the most important metropolis in the south of the country. It is proud of its ancient and long maritime traditions, as well as its traditions in hosting sailing events. In fact, the sailing competitions of the Olympics will be held there, making the city a co-host of the Games in a sense.

However, besides its superb maritime credentials, the Marseille administration was adamant that their city should be the first to welcome the Olympic torch as it would represent a strong link to its origins.

Marseille was first founded as a colony by Ancient Greek seafarers 2,600 years ago under the name Massalia. In a sense, to the Marseillais, the Olympic flame is recreating that ancient trip to underscore the Greek roots of their city.

It is expected that more than 150,000 people will gather to welcome the Olympic flame.



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