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Paris' big obstacle may be Athens

Paris bid
The Paris bid committee's Web site includes posters and a copy of the bid  

By CNN Paris Bureau Chief Peter Humi

PARIS, France (CNN) -- Claude Bebear is hoping the International Olympic Committee says "Oui Paris." That's the slogan for the City of Lights' bid to host the 2008 Summer Games.

"You have to consider one thing," says Bebear, Paris 2008 bid president. "What is the best offer for the athletes. Second, what is the best offer for the visiting people. And third, what is the best offer for the people watching their TV."

According to the bid committee, Paris already has 60 percent of all the sites required to stage the modern Games. And some of Paris' better know landmarks will be adapted, temporarily, to accommodate events.

"Jumping in front of Les Invalides, fencing in Le Grand Palais. The Eiffel Tower, you will have the beach volley. You will have the marathon going from one monument to another monument. You will have people cycling on the Champs-Elysees around the Etoile," says Bebear.

Why organisers believe in Paris bid (July 9)

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In-depth coverage of the 2008 host city decision  

In fact, say the organizers, the Games would, with the exception of the sailing, all be held within Greater Paris. An efficient transport system already exists and will be improved, allowing easy access to the various sites for athletes and spectators. As for finance, the French say they've got plenty.

Most of the estimated $3.3 billion it will cost to stage the Games will come from sponsors and private business. The rest will come from the French taxpayer.

Paris would seem to be the perfect choice -- if it weren't for one thing: recent Olympic history.

The French capital hasn't staged the Summer Games since 1924. But Athens, Greece, is the venue for the Games of 2004, and that might put paid to Paris' bid for the Games of 2008.

Ever since 1952, no two consecutive Summer Olympics have been held on the same continent. "Beijing only joined the Olympics in 1984, which is very recent," says Bebear. "France has been part of the Olympics since the beginning."

And it has been trying to stage the Summer Games, so far without success, for more than a decade.