The Olympic flame is set to reach French soil at Marseille’s Old Port amid tight security on Wednesday, 79 days before the Paris 2024 Games Opening Ceremony.

More than 150,000 people are expected to welcome the three-masted Belem, which left Greece on April 27 with the flame after it was lit in Ancient Olympia 11 days earlier.

Around 6,000 law enforcement officers will secure the area as the Belem arrives in the harbour around 09:00 GMT (11:00 local time) before a six-hour parade.

“It’s an unprecedented level of security,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. “Life goes on in Marseille but in great security conditions.

“We conceived this event as a ceremony, the fifth of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics (on top of the opening and closing ceremonies,” said Paris 2024 executive director Thierry Reboul who is in charge of ceremonies.

“Marseille is the ideal spot to create memories.”

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Florent Manaudou, France’s 2012 Olympic men’s 50-metre freestyle swimming champion, will light the cauldron shortly after 17:30 GMT in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron.

That will be followed by a free rap concert on a floating stage in front of 45,000 spectators.

The relay will start on Thursday with former Olympique de Marseille football players Jean-Pierre Papin, Didier Drogba and Basile Boli, as well as three-star chef Alexandre Mazzia among the torchbearers.

More than 10,000 people will take part in the torch relay before the flame reaches Paris and is installed near the Louvre, in the Jardin des Tuileries.

The Olympic Opening Ceremony will take place on the River Seine on July 26.

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