More than 500 days separate us from the Paris Games. For the past two years, the DRAC Île-de-France has been mobilizing within the framework of the Cultural Olympiad to make these Olympic and Paralympic Games a true celebration of sport and culture, and a perfect opportunity to create a fruitful dialogue between artists, athletes and people.


In 500 days the Paris 2024 JOP will begin. The DRAC teams in their diversity (archaeologists, architects of the Buildings of France, curators...) were mobilized very early on, under the aegis of the regional prefect, alongside the partners in charge of the realization of the Olympic works. But the DRAC has also been heavily involved for two years in the Cultural Olympiad in order to stimulate or accelerate the construction of new dynamic partnerships with cultural actors and local authorities, for the support to creation, the enhancement of heritage and cultural democratization.

What is the Cultural Olympiad?

Culture is one of the three pillars of the Olympic Charter, along with sport and education. Ten years after the recasting of the Games, Pierre de Coubertin wanted to give back to the Olympiad "its prime beauty", when, in ancient times, "the letters and arts harmoniously combined with sport ensured the greatness of the Olympic Games"1. Thus, from 1912 to 1948, seven editions of the Games will include Olympic events in literature, music, painting, sculpture and architecture. After their demise, it was from the 1956 Melbourne Games that cultural programs became an essential part of the Olympic celebrations and, for the host cities, a contractual obligation enshrined in the Charter of the International Olympic Committee2.

The Cultural Olympiad is a multidisciplinary artistic and cultural program that runs from 2021 to September 2024, in all French territories, through projects led by various cultural and sports stakeholders. The Organising Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP) is the driving force behind this programming, which it builds on the support of the Ministry of Culture, the cities of Paris and Marseille, the Île-de-France region, the Seine-Seine department, and the FrenchSaint-Denis and territories Terre de Jeux 2024. A label "Cultural Olympiad" is awarded by COJOP to artistic and cultural events that are part of this programme3. The Ministry of Culture is particularly involved in its construction. The Cultural Olympiad is a flagship measure among the measures of the Heritage Plan which lists all 170 State commitments around the Games. National public institutions, DRAC de métropole and Directions des affaires culturelles en Outre-mer are thus mobilized to create projects exploring the links between arts and sport.

In the summer of 2021, under the authority of the Prefect of the Île-de-France region, the DRAC was very actively involved in the construction, with local authorities and cultural partners, an ambitious cultural programme involving dialogue between arts and sport, multidisciplinary – with the desire to reflect the vitality of artistic creation and to enhance the richness of Paris' heritage, and inclusive, through artistic proposals deployed throughout the Ile-de-France region and aimed at the most numerous audiences. In 2022, the DRAC was thus able to support some 20 projects – some of which, structuring at the scale of a territory or a cultural network, are deployed from 2022 to 2024. In 2023 and 2024, the objective is to amplify this support.

Artistic and cultural programming closely linking arts and sports

The poet and boxer Arthur Cravan, forerunner of the art-performance4 to the horse racing scenes in the paintings of Degas, the "Stadium" by Maurizio Cattelan, performance organized around a giant table football with amateur footballers at the "Stadium"by Mohamed El Khatib bringing the world of football to the national theatres, examples of the intersection of art and sport are numerous in the history of the living and visual arts. In some disciplines, the links are more obvious – as in the field of the arts of movement, engaging the expression of the body; they are nonetheless present in fields such as theatre, both through physical preparation for acting (from Jacques Copeau to Jacques Lecoq) or as a new favourite subject of playwrights (such as the biathlete Martin Fourcade directed by the director Matthieu Cruciani at Frédéric Ferrer’s crazy lectures entitled "Olympicorama").

The Cultural Olympiad offers the opportunity to deepen even more fruitfully the links between the worlds of sport and culture. The objective is to open up these two worlds even more, with proposals calling sport as a theme, which are held in a sporting venue or in connection with a sporting event, or they highlight the values common to arts and sports, such as excellence, inclusion, cultural diversity and universalism.

The Beauty of the Gesture, the Art of the Collective, the MuMo x Centre Pompidou, Le Mouffetard – Centre national de la Marionnette ... numerous projects in Île-de-France

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Star Mustang © Christophe Loiseau

The DRAC is accompanying the project entitled 'The Beauty of Gesture": eight cultural scenes in Seine-Saint-Denis certified by the Ministry of Culture, federated around the MC93, have each commissioned artists – choreographers, circassians, visual artists – to create works involving groups of inhabitants and sports structures of the territory (thus, an American football club of La Courneuve with the company Cheptel Aleïkoum) and prepare a great choreographed festive parade that will unfold in the public space in June 2024. Fertile encounters are also allowed in more new fields: thus, the DRAC has enabled the Théâtre Le Mouffetard – Centre national de la Marionnette to launch a program of short puppet shows to ten companies representing the diversity of contemporary puppet creation (Les Anges au Plafond, Turak, etc.) on the theme of sport, to be disseminated throughout Île-de-France and accompanied by practice workshops.

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Footcinella © Marine Drouard

Friendship, excellence, respect. It is on these three values that Olympism is based, a philosophy of life that combines sport, culture and education, ensuring respect for fundamental universal ethical principles. These values, shared with the Ministry of Culture, extend into the values of inclusion, diversity, universalism, equality between women and men, that the Cultural Olympiad must be able to reflect in the diversity of artistic proposals that constitute it. The participatory dimension of these proposals is therefore essential: the events of the Olympiad must involve the populations as widely as possible – through the creation processes of works and cultural mediation actions. Young people, as well as audiences that are far from the usual artistic proposals, are thus particularly concerned by the Cultural Olympiad. It is also a great opportunity and a very important lever to bring audiences closer to sport and culture.

In the design of its cultural programming, the DRAC thus ensures that the programming of the Cultural Olympiad radiates most widely in the Ile-de-France region, so that all citizens feel concerned by these projects. Departments that do not host Olympic events, as well as the priority areas of city policy (see box) and rural areas, are particularly targeted by the actions financed by the DRAC.

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The MuMo x Centre Pompidou designed by Hérault Arnod Architectures and Krijn de Koning, artist © Matthieu Salvaing

For example, in Val-d'Oise, the Art du Collectif brings together ten cultural actors certified by the Ministry of Culture presenting an incredible artistic diversity – jazz or baroque music, street arts, circus, theatre, around a project bringing together heritage and contemporary creation, which will unfold both in the city’s political districts and in the villages of Vexin.

Le MuMo x Centre Pompidou conçu par Hérault Arnod Architectures et Krijn de Koning, artiste © Matthieu Salvaing_1-site.jpg

The MuMo x Centre Pompidou designed by Hérault Arnod Architectures and Krijn de Koning, artist © Matthieu Salvaing

The Mobile Museum (MuMo) and the Centre Pompidou have teamed up to propose a travelling exhibition on the theme of sport, The police station will have been carried out in a shared way between groups of inhabitants of rural areas and districts in the city’s politics and the curators of the Centre Pompidou. Thus, it will be more than 30 weeks of roaming for the two trucks of the MuMo, which will allow to propose an original vision of the national collections of modern art, accessible to the greatest number.

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MuMo x Centre Pompidou, view of the exhibition "Lumières" in circulation in Île-de-France and Centre-Val de Loire in 2022 and detail of a work by Ossip Zadkine ("Formes et lumières",1922, Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris). © Quentin Chevrier

The children at core projects

At the end of two years of preparation with professional dancers and choreographers, 2,024 college students from the Académie de Créteil will meet in June 2024 at the Château de Vincennes to perform a choreography inspired by the "Lady with the Unicorn", famous tapestry of the Cluny Museum, accompanied by musicians of the Orchestre national d'Ile-de-France and squirrels of the Cadre noir de Saumur ("Dance the future", a project carried out by the academic delegation for arts and cultural education of the Académie de Créteil). As for the instrumental ensemble of the Concert de la Loge, it deploys since the fall of September its "Hip Baroque Choc" in six departments of Paris, allowing professional high school students of twelve classes, in practice workshops, to learn to go on stage, to realize his instruments to join professional artists and develop projects combining baroque music, hip-hop dance, declamation, percussion, finding forms of public restitution in stadiums.

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"Make Body and Shine" Pasarela Company © Aëla Labbé

Similarly, attention to the inclusion of disabled audiences has led the DRAC to accompany a project of the Pasarela company, full and ambitious dance training, for eight young people and staff of a health facility in Seine-Saint-Denis. Cooperation with the Regional Health Agency (RHA) should be strengthened in 2023 and 2024, in the context of the Paralympic Games, notably in the framework of the agreement signed by the RHA with the French Paralympic and Sports Committee, to accompany cultural initiatives integrating public, artists and athletes with disabilities.

Cultural twinning as relay of the Cultural Olympiadlle in Île-de-France

Created in 2016, the "cultural twinning" scheme translates, in Île-de-France, the priority given to culture by the regional prefect alongside employment and education, within the framework of the city’s policy. This innovative and ambitious scheme combines national cultural institutions with districts of city policy (QPV) in Paris.

In 2022, these twinnings helped spur initiatives related to the YOG 2024:

  • In Sarcelles (95), a choreographic and musical performance related to the world of football, involving the participation of 1,000 people around choir conductors and choreographers, was initiated by the Paris National Opera.
  • In La Verrière and Maurepas (78), the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles has imagined a baroque parade combining musicians, actors, dancers and locals, around dance workshops and dedicated to period costumes.

In 2023, other projects will be launched:

  • in 9 QPV de Seine-et-Marne, the Théâtre de Sénart, Centre de préparation aux jeux (CPJ) pour le breaking, a new Olympic discipline, will offer educational courses related to the circus (acrobatic clothing, parkour);
  • the work of the EPPGHV (La Villette) will make it possible to highlight the JOP in the 400 French Micro-Funds through the release of a collection on sport.

1) "The Roman Olympiad'', Pierre de Coubertin, Le Figaro dated 5 August 1904.

2)"In addition to the festive atmosphere of the Olympic Games, the cultural programme of the Olympic Games includes projects and events that present local, national and international cultures, promote intercultural dialogue and celebrate Olympic values to reach the widest possible audience. ' And Olympic Charter, point 39.


4)Arthur Cravan, poet and boxer forerunner of art-performance, Pierre Chazaud, Ligeia 2013/1 (No. 121-124):