Family bid adieu to former French leader Giscard in intimate ceremony

A woman holds a picture of late former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing as she arrives for his funeral in Authon, France, December 5, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

AUTHON, France (Reuters) - The family of Valery Giscard d'Estaing bid farewell to the former French president in an intimate funeral service in his home village on Saturday.

Giscard's coffin was carried to the church in Authon, central France, by four pall bearers, draped in the flags of France and the European Union.

Giscard died on Wednesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 94. He will be buried close to the grave of his daughter in a private plot next to the village's cemetery.

COVID restrictions in France limit the number of people attending a funeral to 30.

France's leader from 1974 to 1981, Giscard presided over the modernisation of French society and in Europe laid the foundations for the euro single currency after forging a close relationship with West German chancellor Helmut Kohl.

"The direction he gave France still guides us today," President Emmanuel Macron said in a tribute to Giscard shortly after he passed.

(Reporting by Stephane Mahe in Authon; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Ros Russell)

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