Paris 2024: a logistical time trial in the Olympic village for the Organizing Committee

A new major challenge awaits the Organizing Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (Cojop)

Paris 2024: a logistical time trial in the Olympic village for the Organizing Committee

A new major challenge awaits the Organizing Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (Cojop). After three years of forced work, the Olympic works delivery company (Solideo, the public company responsible for the delivery of the Olympic works) must hand over the keys to the athletes' village to Cojop on Thursday February 29, during the inauguration , in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron, of this vast real estate complex. A “village” which extends over 52 hectares north of Paris, straddling the communes of Saint-Ouen, Saint-Denis and Ile-Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis).

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and supply shortages in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, the project will have been carried out on schedule and without major additional costs excluding inflation. The construction of the village will have cost nearly 2 billion euros, a third of which was public money (State and local authorities). 14,250 athletes and management members of 206 delegations will reside there for the Olympic Games (from July 26 to August 11) and 9,000 (182 delegations) during the Paralympics (from August 28 to September 8).

As soon as the keys are handed over, time will be running out for the Cojop. The organizer will then have a little over four months to fit out some 3,000 apartments in 82 residential buildings into Olympic configuration, and deploy all the services imposed by the specifications of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

And the task that awaits the Cojop is a logistical challenge. The Paris 2024 teams will need to receive and install nearly 350,000 pieces of furniture in the village's 7,200 rooms – at the rate of two athletes per 12 m2 room. Including 14,250 duvets, as many bedside tables and reading lights; 8,200 fans, 1,681 shelves, 7,600 drying racks, more than 5,500 sofas, etc.

Within the village, it is also a matter of converting the studios of the Cité du cinéma into training sites (basketball, wrestling, fencing, etc.); to install a fitness room, a media center, an information center; to convert all of the ground floors into living spaces, etc. This last point should cost Cojop 10 million euros, estimates Laurent Michaud, director of the Olympic and Paralympic villages at Paris 2024. For the rest, the partners of the Games (Carrefour, Accor, etc.) will be mobilized and will provide goods and services. The sale of alcohol will, however, be prohibited in the athletes' canteen or in the vast Sports Bar managed by Coca-Cola, where athletes will be able to meet.

No armed agents in the village

With less than five months until the Games, forty-five national delegations already know their location in the village. France, the host country, was the first to choose apartments for its athletes three years ago. Then, priority is, by tradition, determined in descending order of the size of delegations. The United States, then China, were the next to choose on plan. “Approximately 90% of the village has already been allocated,” specifies Laurent Michaud. Small delegations will know their assignment when they arrive.

“The Nordics are used to being together, like the seventeen Pacific delegations of ONOC [national Olympic committees of Oceania], he adds. Some prefer to be close to the village restaurant, others to the exits or the arrival station. Still others like to be quiet on Ile-Saint-Denis. » No absurd request, however, observes Laurent Michaud. The Swiss adds, however, that “European” delegations – without further details – chose their location based on the possibility of installing cold baths.

Security within the village is the other big challenge for the organizers. Particularly that of Israeli, Palestinian, Russian or Ukrainian but also American athletes due to the international context made flammable since the invasion of Ukraine two years ago and then the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7. If all the delegations trust the French authorities to ensure their security, it will however be possible for them to call on their own security service, on the condition that their agents are not armed inside the village, specifies Cojop.

“These delegations prefer to be accommodated in the village rather than in a hotel because they know that the village will be, during the Games, probably the most secure place on earth,” a member of Paris 2024 told Le Monde, adding that a branch of the police headquarters adjacent to the closed perimeter of the village will ensure the protection of the athletes.

The discretion of the organizers, however, remains with regard to the specific arrangements that these delegations may require, such as the installation of armored windows in the apartments they will occupy. “Everything will be done to ensure the safety of athletes,” Paris 2024 has been repeating for months.