Olympics-Traffic to be heavily restricted during the Games, police warns

Olympics - Christmas village in the colours of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris - Paris City Hall, Paris, France - November 28, 2023 General view of a Paris 2024 sign in the village REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/ File photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Car traffic during the Paris 2024 Olympics will be restricted with pre-registration necessary to enter several zones, although the maximum is being done to preserve the residents' daily lives, the French capital's chief of police said on Wednesday.

"We want to guarantee the highest level of security while safeguarding the continuity of the economical and private lives," Paris police chief Laurent Nunez told a press conference before unveiling a map of restricted areas for the duration of the July 26-Aug. 11 Games.

To a lesser extent, the Paralympics will also have restrictions.

"The plan is not final, we will now enter a phase of consultation to get feedback," Nunez added.

"We are not saying that people should leave Paris. There are a lot of spaces that are not concerned by these measures. And pedestrians are allowed everywhere."

As expected, competition venues will only be accessible to ticket holders while a protection perimeter will be set up in immediate proximity of the sites.

Red zones, around Olympic sites, will be closed to traffic in order to protect pedestrians.

“There will be exemptions for emergency vehicles, some residents for example,” said Nunez.

“They will need to register on a platform, which will help the police to quickly identify those who are allowed through. It will not concern pedestrians and bike riders. Emergency situations will also be taken into account.”

Traffic will also be restricted in blue zones – larger than the red ones – although no previous registration will be needed.

Most of the western part of central Paris, where the majority of events take place, will turn blue or red.

As the Games approach, parts of the city will also come to a standstill.

The Place de la Concorde, where skateboarding, breaking and 3x3 basketball competitions will take place, will be closed to traffic on June 1.


The pont Alexandre III will also be closed to traffic as early as May 17. Most bridges on the River Seine will be closing at the start of July in preparation for the opening ceremony, a long parade on barges that could be attended by some 500,000 people.

"We’re facing a situation so we have to get organised to find solutions," Saint Denis mayor Mathieu Hanotin. "This is a work in progress."

Saint Denis is notably host to the Stade de France, where the athletics events will be held.

Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet welcomed the measures, which he deemed necessary as France is organising a compact Games within the city.

"Some 240 days before the opening ceremony it was important to share that information," Estanguet said.

"We wanted spectacular and eco friendly Games. It means we have organise some events in central Paris, with seven temporary facilities being set up."

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo echoed Estanguet's point of view.

"We fought together for an ambition – hosting a spectacular, unique Games that accelerate a transition towards more sustainability," she said.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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