Paris 2024 to host first Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony outside a stadium

Up to 65,000 spectators will be able to attend the fully accessible Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, which will take the athletes through the Champs-Elysees to the Place de la Concorde for a powerful message of inspiration and inclusion 20 Oct 2022
A mock-up image of a pyro show in which people standing in the formation of an Agitos sign hold up lights in the Place de la Concorde.
The Opening Ceremony of a Paralympic Games will be held outside a stadium for the first time in history at Paris 2024.
ⒸParis 2024

Paris 2024 will mark the first time that the Opening Ceremony of a Paralympic Games is held outside a stadium with the Athletes' Parade to stretch through the heart of the French capital to the iconic Place de la Concorde.

The athletes will start their parade at the bottom of the Champs-Elysees and arrive at the largest square in Paris, which offers a view of the city from the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries on the eastern side to the Arc de Triomphe in the west. 

To be held on 28 August 2024, the Opening Ceremony will serve as a grand kickoff to the 12-day sporting event, which aims to revolutionise the lives of people with a disability and French society in general.

Place de la Concorde offers a view of the Arc de Triomphe on one side and the Louvre on the other. @Paris 2024

“This ceremony in the heart of the city is a strong reflection of our ambition to take advantage of hosting the first Paralympic Games in our country and put the issue of the inclusion of people with disabilities at the heart of society,” said Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee.

“From choosing inclusion as a theme for Olympic and Paralympic Week 2023 to the creation of a Paralympic Day to spotlight athletes and allow everyone to discover Para sports, this Opening Ceremony in the heart of Paris is the example of the high level of ambition that we have for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

The heart of Paris

During the Opening Ceremony, the athletes will parade by some of the French capital’s most beautiful landmarks, located along the route between the Champs-Elysees and the Place de la Concorde.

Paris' central square has great symbolism in French culture and history. It reflects back to the Age of Enlightenment, which fostered the values of determination, equality, inspiration and courage - values that the Paralympic Movement also shares.

“On behalf of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Paralympic Movement I want to express our immense excitement about Paris 2024’s bold and original plan to stage the first Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony outside of a stadium. In a city that reverberates to history, Paris is creating a new moment in time that people will talk about for years to come," said IPC President Andrew Parsons. 

"What is very clear to me is that something special is being created for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games," he added. "This festival of inclusion all begins with the truly unique experience of thousands of Paralympians parading down the world’s most famous avenue. What an amazing thrill it’s going to be to enter the Champs-Elysees and then make the journey down to Place de la Concorde, all the while being framed by the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. I think it is going to be a thing of beauty, and a once-in-a-lifetime event that will go down in all our histories.”

The Athletes' Parade will start on the Champs-Elysees and finish at the Place de la Concorde. @Paris 2024

An expected 65,000 spectators will be able to attend the Opening Ceremony, which is equivalent to the seating capacity of a stadium.

The Paris 2024 Organising Committee is working with the IPC, the French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF) and the relevant local authorities to ensure that the event is fully accessible.  

“As the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games is a historic first, its large-scale and public concept is, above all, a great source of inspiration to me," said Thomas Jolly, Artistic Director of Paris 2024 ceremonies

"From the Champs-Elysees to the Place de la Concorde, I can’t wait to create a spectacle that will transform the heart of Paris into a unique artistic festival with performances that have never been seen before. A spectacle that will put a spotlight on Paralympic athletes and the values that they represent. A spectacle that will bring spectators and TV viewers across the world together around the unique spirit of the Paralympic Games."

Games Wide Open

Holding the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paralympic Games outside a stadium reflects the Paris 2024 slogan "Games Wide Open" and aligns with the Organising Committee's broader ambition to organise sports competitions in iconic city sites.

For example, blind football matches will be held at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Para equestrian events in the Chateau de Versailles gardens, while wheelchair fencing and Para taekwondo will be staged at the Grand Palais.

The artistic performances and official presentations of the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony will be held at the Place de la Concorde. @Paris 2024

The 2024 Paralympic Games will feature 4,400 athletes, as well as 2,500 accompanying persons, from up to 184 delegations.

“The City of Love is going to make the heart of every Paralympian sing," said Jitske Visser, Chairperson of the IPC Athletes' Council. "What an amazing moment for our athletes, a historic Opening Ceremony on the most famous avenue in the world and with the beauty of Paris all around them. Paris 2024 will be an amazing stage to celebrate Para sport to the world.”