IN PICTURES: France bids adieu to Jacques Chirac at funeral service in Paris

A funeral service attended by dozens of world leaders took place in Paris on Monday for France's former president Jacques Chirac who died last week aged 86.

IN PICTURES: France bids adieu to Jacques Chirac at funeral service in Paris
All photos: AFP

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and former US leader Bill Clinton were among the mourners at the Saint-Sulpice church in central Paris as France held a national day of mourning for its president who served from 1995-2007.

Chirac's coffin, draped in a French flag, was carried into the church by his former bodyguards while onlookers applauded outside.

As well as President Emmanuel Macron, other world leaders attending included Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani as well as EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

Chirac's widow Bernadette, who is said to be in frail health, attended a private service earlier but was not present at the main ceremony.

Chirac's immediate successors, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, were both present, as, in a rare public appearance, was the third president of France's modern Fifth Republic, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, 93.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose father and former far-right chief Jean-Marie Le Pen was an arch-foe of Chirac, opted in the end not to attend after Chirac's family made known she would not be welcome.

Members of the public are gathered outside of the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris during the church service for former French President Jacques Chirac.

Republican Guards carry the coffin of former French president Jacques Chirac during a military tribute at the Invalides (Hotel des Invalides) in Paris. AFP

Republican Guards carry the coffin of former French president Jacques Chirac during a military tribute at Hotel des Invalides

French President Emmanuel Macron stands in front of the coffin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) attends attends the church service for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Saint-Sulpice church 

The hearse transporting the coffin leaves Hotel des Invalides for the Saint-Sulpice church 

France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) and his wife French-Italian model and singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stand with the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral's rector Patrick Chauvet





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Cherie’s Chirac tirade ‘helped UK win Games’

A blistering tirade by Cherie Blair, the wife of ex-British premier Tony Blair, against French president Jacques Chirac played a key role in winning the Olympics for London, organizer Sebastian Coe has claimed.

Cherie's Chirac tirade 'helped UK win Games'
Photo: Mouvement des Entreprises de France

In extracts from Coe's book published in the Times on Monday, the former London Organising Committee chairman revealed that Mrs Blair rounded on Chirac at a crucial Olympic reception over comments he made about Britain's cuisine. The leader's wife went at Chirac "like a banshee" at the 2005 event in Singapore, causing the embarrassed French leader to leave the function before he had chance to lobby potential voters on behalf of the Paris 2012 bid, said Coe. 

"I spotted Cherie heading like a heat-seeking missile towards the French contingent," he recalled. "Above the hubbub her voice rang loud and clear. 'I gather you've been saying rude things about our food', she said, at a volume that would have done justice to a packed courtroom.

"Her husband, who could hear as well as I could, had assiduously turned away," added the former Olympic champion. Three days earlier, Chirac was heard telling Russian leader Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that "you can't trust people who cook as badly as that," at a G8 summit in Scotland.

"After Finland, it's (Britain) the country with the worst food," he added. Coe believes that Chirac's hasty exit from the Singapore event gave Tony Blair more time to press London's case, according to extracts from "Running My Life".

Paris arrived in Singapore as favourites to secure the 2012 summer Games but was edged out by London in the final eliminator by 54 votes to 50.