Friday’s ceremony is seen as a second chance for French officials who failed to beat Beijing for the 2008 Games.

Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, New York, Madrid, Moscow, Paris and Rio de Janeiro submitted their 65-page International Olympic Committee questionnaire and handed over a $150,000 non-returnable entry fee.

The IOC's executive board could draw up a short list at its 18 May meeting in Lausanne.

However, IOC president Jacques Rogge has several times insisted the nine are so strong that all of them could be in this May's final list of candidates.

The final vote by the 125 IOC members is taken at Singapore on 6 July, 2005.

Costly French arrogance

Paris was humiliated in its bid for the 2008 Olympics because of what the current bid committee members acknowledge was the perceived arrogance of the French who were too confident their business plan would win the day in Moscow in 2001 and forgot to go out amongst the 125 IOC members and rub shoulders.

Paris finished behind Beijing, Toronto and Istanbul in the first round of voting and improved only by one place, ahead of Istanbul, in the second round which clinched the issue for Beijing.

Paris's highlight will be the 1998-
built Stade de France

However, Paris was also fighting a near impossible battle against Beijing and outgoing IOC president Juan-Antonio Samaranch's determination to give China the Games before he stepped down.

"We faced a redoubtable opponent to whom the IOC wanted to offer the Games for geopolitical reasons," said then Paris bid chief Claude Bebear at the time.

Upstaged in 1992

Samaranch also frustrated Paris when it bid to stage the 1992 Olympics, losing out to the Catalan's hometown of Barcelona.

But the French scored a major win over England last year when they won the right to stage the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Paris, which successfully staged the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament, will centre its bid around the 80,000 capacity Stade de France built for that showcase event.

Fourteen of the 32 stadiums needed for the Games are already built and bid committee director Essar Gabriel has promised there will be no white elephants which will be left to rust once the Games are over.

Paris says it is spending around $25 million on its bid and the Games are estimated to cost $6.9 billion.

Paris held the Olympics in 1900 and 1924 when Finnish running legend Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals, Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame won three gold swimming medals and British runners Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddle of "Chariots of Fire" fame triumphed at the old Colombes stadium.