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Paris, France -- The organisers of the 2024 Paris Olympics announced the route of the torch relay on Friday, hoping to spark positive headlines after a difficult week when police raided their offices.
From Mont Saint Michel to the French Caribbean to the Chateau de Versailles, the relay will be a French tourism chief's dream even if some local authorities declined to welcome it due to what they considered exorbitant costs.
The torch will be lit in Olympia in Greece, then brought by boat to the southern French port of Marseille on May 8 and will pass through 400 towns before arriving in Paris on July 26 for the opening ceremony.
The organisers have suffered a fraught week after police raided the headquarters of the organising committee, known as Cojo, and the offices of Solideo, the body in charge of the Olympic construction sites.
They followed that up with another search on Wednesday, this time of Keneo, a Paris-based consulting firm specialising in sports, and the home of the Paris 2024 Chief Executive Officer, Etienne Thobois, was also raided.
The searches are part of investigations by the French National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) into the contracts awarded for the Olympics.
- Disruption possible -
The torch will be lit as is traditional in Olympia on April 16 then brought to Marseiille by the three-masted ship Belem.
Mindful of the chaos surrounding the last time the torch relay took place in France in 2008 for the Beijing Summer Games -- due to protests denouncing China's treatment of Tibet -- there will be a strong security presence.
"We know that certain groups and activists will try something," a source close to the organisers told AFP.
"(Ecology activists) Extinction Rebellion or who knows what organisation are going to throw things on the Torch, or block the route."
Protestors may have more trouble disrupting the relay on the sea as it faces a second boat trip on a trimaran skippered by 2016/2017 Vendee Globe winner Armel Le Cleac'h.
The 46-year-old sea dog -- nicknamed 'The Jackal -- will captain a crew that will take the torch from Brest in Brittany on a week-long voyage to Guadeloupe and then on to Martinique.
"For me it is a moment of great pride, an honour and a huge responsibility," Le Cleac'h told AFP.
"We are making history in transporting the torch in a boat."
On the French mainland it will be accompanied by a huge caravan -- the Game sponsors taking advantage of the publicity -- resembling that which follows the Tour de France cycling race.
It will also pass through cities such as Toulon, Toulouse and Montpellier as well as picturesque tourist draws such as Versailles and another famous Chateau, Chambord in the Loire Valley.
The torch bearers are chosen by the organisers and the sporting community.
Another third will come from the relay's sponsors and from other Olympic partners. The remaining 10 percent will be inhabitants of the French overseas territories the torch visits.
© Agence France-Presse