Tens of thousands have lined the streets of Paris for the funeral of ‘French Elvis’ Johnny Hallyday, Mail Online reports. Crowds have been assembled since early this morning to pay tribute to the legendary French signer who died of lung cancer aged 74 on Wednesday.
His body was transferred from the Parisian suburb of Marnes-La Coquette where he lived to Mont Valerin, south west of the capital, eventually reaching the Arc de Triomphe around midday.
Enormous crowds gathered to watch the star’s hearse go down the Champs Elysees followed by a procession of around 700 motorcyclists, saying a final goodbye to their musical hero in a nod to his biker image.
Few figures in French history have earned a send-off as elaborate as the one for the man dubbed the French Elvis. It was ordered by Macron – a Hallyday fan himself, like generations of others across the French-speaking world.
Some fans cried and others waved banners as Hallyday’s body, in a white coffin, was driven down the grand ceremonial avenue towards the Madeleine church for his funeral, where President Emmanuel Macron and former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy are due to speak.
With limited capacity inside the church, the funeral is being broadcast on French national television and on large screens outside. Macron will read a eulogy on the steps of the church and a star lineup of speakers will follow, including actors Marion Cotillard and Jean Reno, and singer Patrick Bruel.
Guests include former Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, who officiated at Hallyday’s last marriage.
The singer’s band and the church choir will alternate songs during the religious ceremony, while approximately 1,500 police officers monitor the high-security event.