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France very soberly salutes the memory of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

A minute of silence was observed at 12 noon in several institutions, whose flags were half mast.

“It’s my childhood that goes a little”: some Parisians braved the cold to come to the Musée d’Orsay in the morning to sign the guest book opened in honor of the former head of state, ” a great man “,” precursor “sometimes” misunderstood “.

Then the political leaders rushed there in their turn in the afternoon, starting with the President of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius, followed by several members of the government. The President of the Senate Gérard Larcher and of the Assembly Richard Ferrand also made the trip, as well as his heir at the head of the UDF, now the Modem, François Bayrou.

The family were also expected at the museum, where they were to meet Prime Minister Jean Castex. “VGE”, who presided over France for a single term, from 1974 to 1981, died at the age of 94 on December 2 as a result of Covid-19, surrounded by his family on his property in Authon, small village of Loir-et-Cher where he was buried on Saturday in the strictest family privacy.

Not “crowd” like Johnny

Emmanuel Macron, who had decreed this day of national mourning in honor of this “central figure in the history of our Republic”, hailed by all as a modernizer and a convinced European, will receive his family at the Elysee Palace in the middle of ‘afternoon.

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris, created in 1977 on the initiative of the former president, and normally closed due to Covid-19, was exceptionally open for the signing of the Golden Book.

Arrived first to sign the register, Jean-Michel Quenet, former parliamentary assistant of “VGE”, praised its “modernity”. “I was a teenager at the time, what struck me was the lowering of the age of majority to 18,” recalls Marc Demoury.

“It is thanks to him that I had the chance to be welcomed in France”, explains Jean Nghiem, a 52-year-old restaurateur, arrived as a child from Cambodia, who would welcome the name. from Giscard d’Estaing to that of the Musée d’Orsay, as several politicians have called for.

Marie-Paule Lallemand, 77, is however astonished at the few people who came in the morning to sign the Golden Book: “When we see that for Johnny whole crowds come, and there people do not make the effort. .. “.

“Very discretly”

Other registers have been opened in France at the initiative of prefects and mayors.

That of the stronghold of “VGE”, Chamalières (Puy-de-Dôme), was installed near the town hall, under a barnum, on a table next to a portrait of the former president and the wreath of flowers filed Thursday, on behalf of Emmanuel Macron, by Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

As in Paris, few people braved the cold. It is a national mourning “very discreet, but it looks like it”, notes Jacques Boulet, 72 years old.

The youngest son of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Louis, now mayor of Chamalières, will pay tribute to him Thursday evening at the opening of the municipal council.

The office of the National Assembly should for its part propose that a “commemorative plaque” be affixed in the hemicycle, like the one unveiled on September 23 for former President Jacques Chirac.

The deputies paid tribute on Tuesday to the former head of state, who was deputy for Puy-de-Dôme on numerous occasions between 1956 and 2002. Prime Minister Jean Castex had insisted on his “European commitment” and recalled that ‘in this respect “it was not always understood” in the Assembly.

Hospitalized several times in recent months, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing had made one of his last public appearances during the funeral of Jacques Chirac, who was his Prime Minister and later his successor.

Despite the notorious differences between the two men, Jacques Chirac’s widow, Bernadette, wrote a letter of condolence to Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing.

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