The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are fast approaching and the organizers have released the highly-anticipated designs for the medals.  Every Olympic athlete dreams of standing on the podium as a gold medal is placed around their necks. For the athletes set to take the stage in Paris this summer – including Canadian equestrians in dressage, show jumping, eventing and Paralympic events – the medals come with a piece of local history as iconic as the Games themselves.

Each medal, whether gold, silver, or bronze, is set with a piece of the original iron from the Eiffel Tower, that most iconic symbol of the City of Lights. Built between 1887 and 1889, the “Dame de fer” has been renovated over the years and it is metal from these renovations that were removed and preserved that have found its way into the Olympic medals.

Of course, this being a Paris-set Olympics you shouldn’t be surprised that the organizers called upon global fashion empire LVMH and its jewelry house Chaumet to create the designs. The result is a “design conceived around three sources of inspiration: the hexagon, radiance, and gem setting.” According to the official press release, the original Eiffel Tower iron was formed in a hexagon, the “geometrical shape of France” and placed in the centre of the medal and imprinted with the emblem of the Paris Games. Chaumet also chose a “Clous de Paris” hobnail shape to resemble the rivets of the Eiffel Tower. The stunning result is like a fine piece of jewelry.

The XXXIII Olympiad runs July 26 through August 11. The equestrian events get an added dose of glam by its venue – the Palace of Versailles. To celebrate the equestrian competitions at Versailles, the iconic venue is presenting a special exhibition dedicated to horses and equestrian civilization. Titled ‘The Horse in Majesty’, there are over 400 works curated from around the world to explore the shared history of humans and horses. The exhibit runs from July 2 through November 3, 2024. So if you can’t make it to the Summer Games, you still have a chance to walk the halls of the show. Just don’t expect to see any horses galloping through the Hall of Mirrors anytime soon!

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