At Père-Lachaise, the lunar funeral of Françoise Hardy

As she wished, Françoise Hardy was cremated at the Père-Lachaise crematorium in Paris on Thursday afternoon. Story of a ceremony punctuated by a few technical incidents which would undoubtedly have made the singer smile.

They were all there, his intimates, his relatives, his friends in the profession, gathered on this Thursday, June 20 for the funeral of Françoise Hardy who died on June 11 at the age of 80. In the dome of the crematorium, five photos were placed in front of the altar, those that she loved so much. On the right, in the front row, Jacques and Thomas Dutronc smile at each other. Jean-Marie Perier sits behind his lifelong friend, we see the tall silhouette of Patrick Modiano, La Grande Sophie or Etienne Daho who also slides into the front row.

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On the left, politicians and personalities “from the profession” gradually settle in: Julien Clerc and his wife Hélène, Laurent Voulzy and his son Julien, Calogero, Nolwenn Leroy, Marc Lavoine, Sheila, Anouchka Delon, Dave and his husband Patrick Loiseau, Nadine Trintignant, Gabriel Yared, François Ozon, Louis and Matthieu Chedid came to greet Françoise one last time.


The ushers ask the 200 people present to stand up when Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni enter. Followed a few minutes later by Rachida Dati, then by Brigitte Macron. The huge crowd outside applauded as the coffin was taken out of the hearse. Under the dome, Thomas and Jacques did not want any speeches. Thomas took it upon himself to choose five of his mother’s songs, his favorites.

Relatives of Françoise Hardy after the ceremony under the dome of the crematorium, at Père-Lachaise, on June 20.

JP PARIENTE/SIPA / © JP PARIENTE/SIPA

When the first notes of “And if I leave before you” resonate, we smile at the idea that Françoise Hardy has succeeded in her bet: that of leaving before the man she loved so much. Thomas runs his hand behind his father’s back, who has put on cowboy boots for the occasion as well as a white shirt, but who has not taken off his eternal overcoat. We feel the sorrow that emerges behind the dark glasses of Dutronc father and son. But no tears. Especially since something is wrong.

“I understand why she stopped the scene” smiles Thomas Dutronc

After “the time of love” (words by Françoise, music by Jacques) we hear Françoise’s voice resonating. His jerky tone surprises. Thomas gets up and goes towards the technicians who are busy. “Okay then we have a problem,” he said to the assembly, “the tape is in fast motion and we don’t know how we’re going to get out of it.” A few smiles at first, then a general hesitation which sets in. “Well continues Thomas, we’re going to try again, so broadcast two last songs including “so many beautiful things” that she had written for me. And then it goes up there,” he said, pointing to the top of the dome.

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Everyone present imagines that Françoise must be smiling about these technical glitches. “I understand why she stopped the scene,” smiles Thomas. But this time, the music resonates normally under the dome. When the funeral staff took the coffin to bring it to the threshold of the crematorium, a shudder shook the small crowd. Françoise Hardy disappears on “Message personnel”, on this moment when she sings “but if you think one day that you love me, come find me, think of me”. This time, emotion and contemplation are required. And when the doors close, Françoise is applauded one last time.

“That’s it,” said Thomas, “she didn’t want a ceremony but I’m sure this one would have made her laugh.”

In a few weeks, the ashes of Françoise Hardy will rest in the Monticello cemetery, not far from her Corsican home, that of the most beautiful happiness of the day. For eternity.

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