Paris, Sep 30 (IANS) France on Monday paid a final tribute to its former President Jacques Chirac with a day of national mourning and a public ceremony in Paris.
The country’s farewell to the former leader, who was head of state between 1995 and 2007, began with a religious service reserved for the family at the Cathédrale Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, the same place where around 7,000 people went to pay their respects on Sunday.
Chirac died on Thursday aged 86 at his Parisian home. In 2005, he reportedly suffered a minor stroke.
His popularity among French citizens was reflected in the number of people on the streets, including several international leaders, according to Efe news.
Dozens of heads of state and retired leaders attended the service, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, German politician Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Former US President Bill Clinton, former President of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Prince Albert II of Monaco also participated in the ceremony organized in the Church of Saint-Sulpice since the Notre Dame Cathedral remains closed to the public after the April fire.
His coffin, wrapped in the French flag, was brought to Saint-Sulpice in a procession from Les Invalides, where the current French president Emmanuel Macron led a military tribute.
Chirac’s widow Bernadette, 86, only participated in the private ceremony.
The family was represented by Chirac’s youngest daughter Claude, who personally thanked the French public for their support.
A private burial was scheduled to take place in the Parisian Montparnasse Cemetery, in the same plot as his daughter Laurence, who died in 2016.
The Elysée Palace had declared a day of national mourning and the tricolour over Les Invalides flew at half-mast, as it did across France. A minute’s silence was observed in public institutions and schools.
Macron received international guests after a mass at the Élysée Palace, headquarters of the French President.