Lying in the state, thousands gathered behind his coffin and the president’s speech: these were the rare honors prepared Thursday for actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, who died this week at the age of 88. Follow live coverage of Event 24 in France
Politicians, celebrities and sports stars were among the thousands who attended the rare event at the Les Anvilides in Paris, where the president Emmanuel Macron. He was to speak at the end of the afternoon.
Before entering for the final glimpse of the beloved star known as “Babel” in France, thousands were expected to gather outside to watch the service on the big screens set up for the occasion.
The last such tribute was paid to former President Jack Chirac in 2019.
“I have to be here,” said retired Brigadier General Rato, 66, one of the first to arrive on Thursday.
“It’s like saying goodbye to an old man, someone who has been there since I was young.”
The last rites will be performed on Friday with a close family.
Belmondo first gained notoriety as part of the New View Cinema Movement, with films such as “Breathless” and “Perot Le Fu” by Jean-Luc Goddard, which helped to explain the French cool in the international imagination.
He became a household name, starring in 80 films, including comedy and thriller.
Belmondo was often referred to as “Le Magnificent” (The Magnificent), after the 1970s secret agent satire in which he starred.
“He will always be great,” Macron tweeted Monday.
Calling Belmondo a “national treasure,” Macron added: “We all know ourselves in it.”
Click on the player above to follow France 24 live coverage.