The Place de la Bastille hosted activities in 15 Paralympic sports ©Paris 2024

Tens of thousands of people, including more than 160 Paralympic athletes, Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and his International Paralympic Committee counterpart Andrew Parsons, have gathered at the Place de la Bastille in the French capital to celebrate Paralympic Day.

The day's activities were jointly organised by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, France's Ministry of Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF) and the City of Paris.

Three sports fields were set up at the Place de la Bastille for high-level sports demonstrations, with activities and introductions to 15 Paralympic sports organised.

Non-Paralympic Games sports wheelchair BMX, wheelchair handball, Para climbing and racquet sport showdown also featured as part of the celebrations.

Speeches were translated into sign language, people with special needs for orientation to the different areas received and wheelchairs provided with the aim of increasing the event's accessibility.

Estanguet vowed that Paris 2024 would bring tangible benefits to Para sport in France.

"It was a pleasure to bring the public together today in Paris for the first Paralympic Day," he said.

"The Paralympic athletes have impressed us with their performances.

"In the build up to 2024, we will continue to put these amazing athletes in the spotlight to build passion for Para sports in the hearts of the French people.

"This day reinforces my conviction that there will be a before and after 2024 for Para sport and wider disability issues in France.

"A whole generation will be impacted by the Paralympic Games."

Parsons, was one of the International Olympic Committee members in attendance, with the other being French biathlete Martin Fourcade, and Parsons said that Paralympic Day marked an example of organisers adhering to the Games Wide Open slogan.

"It was a fantastic experience to be part of the first Paralympic Day in the heart of the French capital," the Brazilian said.

"With more than 150 Para athletes in attendance showcasing their sporting skills and some tremendous activations by the partners, Paralympic Day showed to the public that the Paris 2024 Paralympics will be Games Wide Open."

CPSF President Marie Amélie Le Fur said there is more to come in the efforts to boost the profile of Paralympic sport in France.

"This day was an opportunity to make a step further in telling the story of our athletes, raising awareness and engaging with the French people through athletes' performances," she said.

"I am convinced that Paralympic Day will not just be a temporary event but will find its place in the calendar of major events."

More than 160 Paralympic athletes took part in the Paralympic Day activities ©Paris 2024
More than 160 Paralympic athletes took part in the Paralympic Day activities ©Paris 2024

France's men's PTS4 Para triathlon Paralympic champion Alexis Hanquinquant, Tokyo 2020 flagbearer and judo silver medallist Sandrine Martinet and five-time Winter Paralympic gold medallist and Beijing 2022 flagbearer Benjamin Daviet were among the athletes in attendance.

Markus Rehm, a winner of long jump gold medals for Germany at the last three Paralympics, achieved a jump of 8.04 metres during his demonstration, while France's T46/T47 long jump world record holder Arnaud Assoumani jumped 7.58m.

Paralympic Day in Paris followed a series of similar celebrations around the Stade de France to mark Olympic Day in June.

"We realised that the Olympic Day, even if it presented Paralympic initiations, did not respond to a challenge of recognition of the Paralympic Movement, of pedagogy on angles which seemed absolutely essential to us," Le Fur said, as reported by French newspaper L'Équipe.

Paris 2024 is set to mark the first time France has held the Paralympics, with dates of August 28 to September 8 scheduled.