How the Olympic torch made its way to Paris as it arrives in Marseille

Credit: AP

Words by Adam Di TullioThe Olympic torch will arrive on French soil on Wednesday from the Ancient Olympia site in Greece ahead of a cross-country - and across the ocean - journey to Paris for the opening ceremony.

The torch relay will begin on Wednesday in Marseille where it will dock after 12 days at sea.

The torch will then make its way across France and its overseas' territories, before reaching the French capital in time for the opening ceremony of the Paris 33rd Olympic Games on July 26.Thousands of spectators are expected to take turns carrying the torch on its route, while many more will line the streets to cheer on the procession.

Where will the Olympic Torch travel before reaching Paris?Olympus to MarseillesAfter being lit at the historical birth place of the games, the torch made its procession through Greece and left Athens aboard a three-mast ship named Belem for Marseilles.

The historical cargo ship, which began transporting sugar and cocoa in 1896 from Brazil and the West Indies, will carry the flame to the French mainland with a parade of more than 1,000 boats.A reception of torch bearers will carry the flame from Marseille's Vieux-Port, across the city to the final stretch: the roof of the famed Stade Vélodrome, home of football team Olympique de Marseille.

People watch the Belem arrive in Marseilles Credit: AP

Mont-Saint-MichelOn May 31 the Olympic torch will reach Mont-Saint-Michel.The UNESCO World Heritage Site, a tourist hotspot in France, is a centuries old fortress features an abbey on its peak. It was also used as prison through its over 1,000 years history.

Mont-Saint Michel Credit: AP

The French Territories

The flame will cross the ocean to French overseas territories as part of its journey to the opening ceremony.

The Relais des Océans, or Ocean Relay, will take the torch to French Guiana on June 9 and to Caledonia on June 11.It will tour the French islands of Réunion, Papeete, Guadeloupe and Martinique.The torch then returns to Nice on the Cote d'Azur for 18 June.

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Mont BlancA steep climb awaits the freshly landed torch as it makes for the heights of Mont Blanc.

The journey continues through the alpine mountain pass of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, to mark Olympic Day on June 23.

Mont Blanc Credit: AP

VerdunThe relay team will descend from the more than 1,600 metre high mountain through to Strasbourg in the northeast of France. Three days later they'll make the journey to historic Verdun.One of the most horrific battles of the First World War was fought at Verdun, where more than 700,000 French and German soldiers were killed.Following commemorations, the flame will set its final course to Paris

Paris & VersaillesThe Olympic torch will arrive in Paris on July 14, Bastille Day, before it heads to the former political capital of France, Versailles.

The Parisian suburbs of Nanterre and Seine Saint-Denis (where the Olympic village is) will have a glimpse of the torch on July 24 and 25 respectively, before it prepares for the final journey to the opening ceremony.

At sunset, the Seine river will be graced with 80 boats of athletes participating in the launch of the games on the 26 July.

Paris is set to put on a show for the 2024 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Credit: AP

The cauldron will be lit at a location that is being kept top-secret until the day itself. Among reported options are such iconic spots as the Eiffel Tower and the Tuileries Gardens outside the Louvre Museum. Paris's games will have an opening ceremony which will last over four hours, and will end by 11 on the evening.

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