France pays tribute to late singer Charles Aznavour
PARIS - AP
France paid tribute to Charles Aznavour on Oct. 5in a solemn and subdued ceremony that contrasted sharply with the singer's joyful character. One of France's most famous personalities, Aznavour died earlier this week at 94.
On a mild, sunny morning in Paris, politicians and celebrities gathered near the site of Napoleon's tomb in the courtyard of Les Invalides, where French president Emmanuel Macron welcomed Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Former French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo were among those attending the ceremony.
Covered by a French tricolor flag, Aznavour's coffin arrived in the courtyard carried by military personal to the sound of a traditional Armenian tune. A spray of red, blue and orange flowers - the colors of the Armenian flag - was then laid close to the casket.
"Every Armenian sees him as a close relative," Pashinyan said. "Because Aznavour is the one who lifted Armenia to the roof of the world."
Born Shanoun Varenagh Aznavourian, the singer cut the Armenian suffix from his stage name but never forgot his Armenian roots.
Speaking after Pashinyan, Macron said that "for so many decades, (Aznavour) has made our life sweeter, our tears less bitter." "His songs were for millions of people, a balm, a remedy, a comfort," Macron said, praising Aznavour for the quality of his lyrics and the promotion of France.
"French language is not only the cement of a nation, it's also the catalyst for freedom and hope," said Macron, who compared Aznavour to French poet Guillaume Apollinaire.
The ceremony ended with a rendition of Aznavour's hit "Emmenez-Moi," which was played as his coffin was carried away.