The body of France’s biggest rock star for more than half a century was carried in a hearse past his home in the west Paris suburb near Versailles to the Arc de Triomphe.
Hundreds of motorcyclists came to the French capital to join the procession as fans chanting “Johnny! Johnny!” lined the route up the famous Champs Elysees shopping street for the rock star who was often called “the French Elvis”.
The great and the good of French rock royalty, politicians and film stars attended the service followingHallyday’s death from lung cancer early on Wednesday morning.
President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced his death at the age of 74, saying “he brought a part of America into our national pantheon”.
The French leader and his wife, Brigitte, entered La Madeleine church behind the star’s family after giving Hallyday’s young daughters a hug.
Former president Francois Hollande and his wife Julie Gayet joined the service, as did his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
Laeticia, the singer’s wife of 21 years, stood over the white coffin outside the church with their young daughters, Jade and Joy.
His son, David Hallyday, and daughter, Laura Smet, from two out of four previous marriages joined their stepmother and stepsisters.
His first wife and mother to David, singer Sylvie Vartan, kissed the coffin as his third wife, Nathalie Baye, mother to Sylvie, stood next to her.
A line-up of speakers at the service include film stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Reno, and singer Patrick Bruel.
The singer’s band and the church choir alternated songs during the religious ceremony.
About 1,500 police officers secured the funeral cortege route and area around the church.
Football stadiums are playing Hallyday’s songs before kick-off on Saturday and “Thank you Johnny” is being displayed on the Eiffel Tower over the weekend.
Hallyday remained largely unknown outside the Francophone world, earning him the nickname “the biggest rock star you’ve never heard of” in English-speaking countries.
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During a career spanning 57 years he completed 181 tours, had 18 platinum albums and sold more than 110 million records worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time.
Born Jean-Philippe Smet, the singer is expected to be buried in the French Caribbean island of St Barts where he owned a house.