The Olympic Torch Relay on its second week. PARIS 2024

This Thursday, the Olympic Torch made a leap back in time to explore the unique medieval heritage of the Aude. Nearly 110 Torchbearers carried the Flame from the fortress of Peyrepertuse to Carcassonne. Dimitri Pavadé, one of the relay captains, was in Carcassonne and Olivia Ruiz, one of France's most popular singers, lit the Olympic cauldron.

The day began with a magnificent view of the Pyrenees and the Aude. Getting used to the altitude, the Olympic torch visited the Peyrepertuse Castle, perched on a rocky ridge at an altitude of almost 800 metres. Back on land, the relay continued to celebrate the history of the Aude département through the narrow streets of Narbonne, to the Abbey of Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse and the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Marceille in Limoux. 

After a visit to Castelnaudary, the historic capital of Cassoulet, the Torch Relay moved on to Gruissan and the day ended in Carcassonne, home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the medieval city and the Canal du Midi.

The coast of Gruissan was the setting for a collective sailing relay to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the seaside resort. Every year, these shores host the biggest event in the world of board sports: the Défi Wind Challenge. For this collective relay, 23 sailing personalities, from champions to volunteers, from club officials to coaches and referees, accompanied Camille Lecointre. 

A double medallist in Tokyo and Rio, he and his teammate Jérémie Mion will represent France in the 470 class at Paris 2024. With its 1,100 sailing clubs and 270,000 members, this discipline is developing thanks to the voluntary and professional commitment of enthusiasts from all walks of life. 

In the land of rugby, Gérard Bertrand, a 3rd row forward and captain of Racing Club Narbonnais and then Stade Français, proudly represented the region's official sport. Among the people who have left their mark on the history of local sport are former jujitsu champion Estelle Gaspard, three-time French champion Noah Dudon, adapted sport French cross-country champion Lukas Rolandeu and former race walking champion Martine Navarro.

The beauty of Aude is on display around the Olympic Torch. PARIS 2024
The beauty of Aude is on display around the Olympic Torch. PARIS 2024

Olympic torch relay captain and Paralympic long jump silver medallist Dimitri Pavadé was the penultimate torchbearer, passing the flame to Olivia Ruiz, who then lit the Olympic cauldron at the ceremony site. 

At the end of the day, a sports and cultural Olympiad was organised in the fortress of Carcassonne, in partnership with the French National Centre for Monuments and Sites. The Retouramont troupe accompanied the Olympic Torch as it passed through the monument. Almost like tightrope walkers, the dancers flew along on cables at great heights, joining in the cheers with those of the spectators present to welcome the last of the torchbearers. 

On Friday, the Olympic Torch will set off for Haute-Garonne, a vast region rich in natural sites. It will begin its journey in Revel, before passing through Villemur-sur-Tarn, Muret and Rieux-Volvestre. The day continues through Colomiers and Bagnères-de-Luchon before finishing in Toulouse.