Thousands queue to bid farewell to Chirac in Paris
September 29 2019 07:20 PM
People queue to say a final farewell to former French President Jacques Chirac as the coffin lie in
People queue to say a final farewell to former French President Jacques Chirac as the coffin lie in state at the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral at the Invalides memorial complex in central Paris

Dpa/Paris

Thousands lined up in rainy weather in Paris on Sunday to bid farewell to the late French president, Jacques Chirac, who was lying in state at the Invalides military hospital.

The coffin, draped in the French flag, stood at the entrance to the Invalides monument, near a huge portrait of Chirac, footage on French media showed.

Nearby, queues of people, waiting to pay their respects, stretched over several hundred metres. The turnout was so high that organizers decided to keep access to the site open throughout the night, according to broadcaster BFMTV.

A convoy had earlier brought the former statesman, who died on Thursday at the age of 86, to the cathedral at the Invalides site, where representatives of various faiths held an interreligious ceremony.

Members of his family, such as his daughter Claude, were also present at the old military hospital, where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried. The site is traditionally used for national memorial ceremonies for major public figures and members of the military and security forces.

On Monday, a national day of mourning for France, some 30 heads of state and government leaders are set to attend a large memorial service in Paris for the former president.

Monday's Mass will take place at midday in Saint Sulpice church on the Left Bank. The archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Michel Aupetit, will preside, diocesan spokeswoman Karine Dalle said.

The church, close to the house where Chirac spent his final years, is being used for major Catholic celebrations in Paris while Notre Dame cathedral undergoes restoration after a devastating fire in April.




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