Thousands of French people, despite windy and rainy weather, queued for long hours on Sunday at Les Invalides museum, in central Paris, to pay their last respect to former president Jacques Chirac.
The crowd, of different generations and origins, lined up around the military museum to pay their homage to the one of France’s most popular top officials in its modern history.
Draped in the French tricolor, Chirac’s coffin was placed in the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral where public was allowed to enter to say “adieu” to a politician who President Emmanuel Macron said “incarnated a certain ideal of France” and “a great Frenchman loving our land, our history and our culture.”
A booklet, titled “Chirac in his own worlds” was handed to mourners. It includes extracts of Chirac’s best known speeches, notably the one on the military operation in Iraq in 2003.
Chirac, who had been active in French politics for over half a century, passed away Thursday morning at age 86.
After Sunday’s public tribute, a national day of mourning for Chirac was scheduled on Monday.
The final memorial ceremony at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris will be attended by President Macron and some 30 heads of state and government.
A minute of silence will be also observed in all public institutions and schools.
An ifop poll released on Sunday found that Chirac is now the second most popular president of the French Republic, after the leader Charles de Gaulle.