This orchestra floated on the Seine in Paris, playing Ravel’s Boléro

28 September 2021, 17:14

Ravel’s Boléro on the Seine
Ravel’s Boléro on the Seine. Picture: YouTube / Prequell

By Kyle Macdonald

One of classical music’s greatest tunes hits one of the world’s most beautiful waterways in a stunning performance.

In 2017, Paris’ campaign to host the 2024 Summer Olympics was in full force. They were neck and neck with a state-side bid from Los Angeles. As part of a final publicity push, the city wanted to create a moment combining the city’s history, culture and sporting spirit.

They turned to the city’s famed river, hoping to – well – blow LA out of the water with a no-expense-spared Olympian display of the superiority of their city.

Read more: Four cellists play Ravel’s Bolero on one cello, in acrobatic classical masterpiece

Their displays included a 100-metre track floating on the Seine, a diving platform on the gilded Alexandre III bridge, and (on land) a cycling circuit around the famed Arc de Triomphe.

On that floating running track, Paris showcased the finest in French classical music, with a floating orchestra, arranged in a straight line, playing Ravel’s Boléro.

It must have been a huge undertaking for musicians and organisers alike, and let’s spare a thought for that floating snare-drummer. The result was utterly spectacular – take a look...

Boléro - Prequell Rework (Paris 2024 live)

Ravel’s masterful earworm has a long connection with the Olympics. At the 1984 winter games in Sarajevo, British figure skating pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean skated to Olympic gold in a routine set to Boléro.

In the end, Paris was successful in its bid for the summer games. In 2024, thousands of athletes will be welcomed to the historic city, proving that a little Boléro always helps you get over the finishing line.