PARIS - A solemn President Emmanuel Macron today led his country as France paid its last respects to its popular former Presidentr Jacques Chirac.

Macron led a military tribute near the site of Napoleon's tomb while a military band played La Marseillaise, before Chirac's flag-raped coffin was driven through Paris for a memorial service.

World leaders past and present including Vladimir Putin, Bill Clinton and Nicolas Sarkozy were among the mourners at the Saint-Sulpice church along with Chirac's daughter Claude and her family.

On a national day of mourning, a minute of silence was held in schools and public buildings across France to remember Chirac, who served as President from 1995 to 2007.

Chirac, who died last Thursday at the age of 86, will be buried alongside his daughter Laurence in a private family ceremony later.(FA)