Electric racers to light up Paris landmark

    Story highlights

    • Paris to host city-center electric car race
    • Formula E race will run at Les Invalides
    • All-electric race series in second season

    (CNN)The site was stormed by rioters during the French Revolution, while entombed beneath its golden dome lies the body of Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Now, a small but significant piece of motorsport history is set to grace the grounds of the historic Les Invalides as Paris plays host to a Formula E race for the first time.
      The April 23 ePrix will follow a 1.93-kilometer loop around the streets below the Eiffel Tower just a stone's throw from the River Seine.
      The world's first fully electric race series is in its second season, with the French capital set to host the seventh round in the 2015-16 World Championship.
      Paris ePrix: The recently revealed track is 1.93 kilometers long and includes 14 turns.
      Paris is seen as a significant stop on the calendar, not only to promote electric cars in urban areas but as a small gesture of solidarity following the terror attacks last November, according to Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag.
      "Paris is very important for us," Agag told CNN.
      "There were very dramatic events happening in Paris before the end of the year and we want to really show that we can have a big event in the heart of Paris -- that is going to be very symbolic for us.
      "We are of course increasing the security measures and we will be very careful but we need to go on with our lives and the things that we do."
      The race will be one of the last big sporting events in the city before the European Football Championship kicks off on June 10 with the hosts taking on Romania at the Stade de France.
      "We are showing that things go on, that Paris is open for normal business and we hope a lot of people will come to the race to enjoy probably the most beautiful city in the world," added Agag.
      The 14-turn track on Paris' Left Bank will speed drivers past the Musee de l'Armee and the Musee d'Histoire Contemporaine and will feature a pit lane running down the center of the Esplanade des Invalides.
      Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and chair of Formula E Sustainability Committee greeted the news enthusiastically on Twitter.
      "FIA Formula E races are taking place in Paris on 4/23. Excited for the city of Paris and its people," DiCaprio, star of "The Revenant," tweeted to his 14 million followers.
      Richard Branson, whose DS Virgin Racing are one of nine teams taking part in this year's championship, said he was "thrilled."
      In contrast to its Formula One cousin, most Formula E races take place on street circuits with practice, qualifying and the race all taking place on the same day.
      Locating tracks in major cities is an important part of Formula E's overall strategy, enabling easy access for spectators as well as showcasing more environmentally friendly vehicles in an urban setting.
      Paris has embraced the electric car in recent years, most notably with an electric car-sharing scheme called Autolib'.
      Since its launch in December 2011, the number of Autolib' subscribers has grown to more than 150,000 with about 3,000 cars available for rent and more than 700 charging points dotted across the city.
      "Paris is very proud to welcome the first ePrix to France," Mayor Hidalgo said in a statement.
      "This event will be treated like a popular party, which will link sporting values and the environment. It will be a very nice way to promote electric mobility to a massive audience which is a priority for Paris."
      Paris will be the first stop on the European leg of the 11-race series, which kicked off in Beijing last October and has also visited Malaysia and Uruguay.
      Round four takes place in Buenos Aires, Argentina on February 6 before heading to Mexico and then to Long Beach, California on April 2.
      Former Formula One driver Sebastien Buemi leads the drivers' championship after winning two of the opening three races.
      The Renault e.Dams driver is one point ahead of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport's Lucas di Grassi with Jerome D'Ambrosio of the American team Dragon Racing, in third.