Paris to bid farewell to former French president Jacques Chirac.
Paris to bid farewell to former French president Jacques Chirac.

Thousands bid farewell to Chirac in Paris

Thousands of people have lined up in rainy weather in Paris to bid farewell to former 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 on Sunday that organisers 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 including 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.

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


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