Friday, May 24 2024

The Olympic Flame set sail for France with the historic three-masted "Belem"


The historic French ship "Belem", a traditional three-masted schooner, set sail from Piraeus today, Saturday 27 April, to begin its journey in the Mediterranean carrying the Olympic Flame to France for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.

Eva Metis Koutoumanou

The emblematic three-masted "Belem" arrived in Piraeus on Monday, April 22 and docked at Xaveri Beach, just below the Lion of Piraeus, accompanied by the French Navy frigate LOIRE F/S.

The "Belem" was welcomed by the Mayor of Piraeus Yiannis Moralis, who was guided to the historic ship by the Ambassador of France to Greece Mrs. Laurence AUER and the captain of the ship Aymeric Gibet, where they exchanged ceremonial gifts.

Today, Saturday, April 27, the traditional sailing ship – which had made its maiden voyage in 1896, a few weeks after the revival of the modern Olympic Games held in Athens, at the Panathenaic Stadium – departs from Piraeus for a symbolic journey, crossing the Mediterranean, to end up in the former Greek colony, Marseille, on May 8. from where the torch relay will begin in France, with final destination the city of "light", Paris, where the 2024 Olympic Games will be held, from July 26 to August 11.

Present at the departure event of the "Belem" were the Ambassador of France Laurence Ayer, the Minister of Sports of France Amelie Oudea-Castera, representatives from the city of Marseille, the Mayor of Piraeus Yannis Moralis and the well-known Greek star of French television Nikos Aliagas, who will travel, along with his camera, with "Belem".

Just before the "Belem" set sail, French triple Olympic canoe kayak champion Tony Estanguet in Belem, raised the Olympic Flame on the historic ship.

The Olympic Flame was lit on April 16 in Olympia and yesterday afternoon (April 26), it was handed over to the President of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, Tony Estanguet, during a glorious ceremony in Kallimarmaro.

teleth paradoshs flogas

After the impressive ceremony, the Olympic Flame spent the night at the French Embassy and today (Saturday, April 27th) boarded the three-masted "Belem" for its journey to Marseille, where it will be picked up by the French swimmer and first Torchbearer on French soil, Florent Manaudou.

It is the first time that the Olympic Flame will travel by sea and as the captain of "Belem" Aymeric Gibet stated, "there will be three guards in shifts guarding it all day. It will be located in a special area in the main lounge."


The story of the iconic "Belem"
The "Belem" is the last three-masted sailing ship of the French merchant navy, with square sails and steel hull, dating back to the 19th century and remaining operational to this day.

It took its name from the homonymous city of Belem in Brazil, from where he started his travels transporting coffee. From its French first owner, it passed into English hands and then into Italians, before returning to France.

The three-masted traditional hull of 800 tons of steel and wood is the flagship of the French fleet. It was launched on June 10, 1896, a few weeks after the revival of the modern Olympic Games held in Athens, at the Panathenaic Stadium. Initially, he made trips to Brazil to transport cocoa and to the West Indies for rum. Immediately afterwards it became a pleasure ship and after World War II it became a training boat. In 1984 it was declared a monument.