Perpignan: 3,000 hearts stand for a touching farewell to Dani

Tears and roses. Carried in a deep collected silence to the foot of the altar of the Saint Jean-Baptiste Cathedral in Perpignan, the coffin of the Dani icon wrapped in a shroud of white lace and covered with armfuls of roses emerged at the end of funeral. thunderous applause. A final tribute to the fairy of the arts.

And Dani is gone. Under the burning sun that set the square of the cathedral of Saint-Jean in Perpignan, this thanks July 26, this place that idols loved so much in the 60s, his first fans would not have missed even what in the world is coming. all their love was his for the last time. In a final farewell full of nostalgia.

Before 1 pm the clock strikes the groups of gray-haired women and men who are already waiting for the doors of the cathedral to open. “It’s all our youth who are there, a whole grieving generation”, whispered in an excited tone two little grandmothers dressed in black, looking for an impossible corner of the shade to shelter themselves. Very quickly accompanied by a crowd of unknown people, they remained at the entrance of the building, to be sure, like other sixty-year-olds in the town, to bow to. “childhood friend” Dani, whose black and pew portraits dotted with flowers littered the altar steps.

The sobs flowed like many petals of tears

An hour and a half later, the death knell rang to the rhythm of sobs that flowed like many petals of tears. The funeral procession has arrived. Followed by Dani’s family, her sister Véronique, her sons, her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins… The Ave Maria resounded in the crowded cathedral. To the relatives of the missing are added the close ones. Françoise Quinta who sadly murmured was ready to sacrifice herself “The luxury of my late friend’s destruction”. Gérard and Manu Lanvin, Cali, Jo Maso, Anthony Delon, Mathilde Seigner, Emilie March, Jean-Marie Périé… They join a current transgenerational crowd of more than three thousand people to finally take their place in the front row.

Father Joël Marie presided over the religious ceremony. “Dani, you love roses because of the message of love that they convey. Roses from Perpignan, roses from other places with an often invisible but real scent, they carry the eternal love that you have “, began the abbot whose first thought went to the little girl from Perpignan “who took his first communion on May 22, 1952 in this parish where he came to pray”. And where Bishop Norbert Turini also wanted to send a touching message in memory of the iconic Dani. Father Joseph Marti, a man of Church and Culture, who has been with Dani for a long time “honesty and prudence”, joined the tribute and read it. From this moment of communion shared in the assembly: “Dear Danièle, you left alive. Your death is alive. The golden cross you wore around your neck became the key that opened the doors to a new life and to the God you sought and who will receive you”.

During meditation, the word turns to prayers, to a text from the Gospel, to a passage from “The Night Won’t Last”, the autobiography signed by Dani. Then the loving words of his sister Véronique awakened “a multifaceted artist who always knows how to put a poem and a love of his own”. About his sons Emmanuel and Julien who dedicated him “unconditional and incandescent love”. In letters to his grandchildren that, combined with tears, describe a “rock ‘n’ roll grandma”, “a star brighter than the sky. Mom, grandma, aunt Dani, what you want to say: kisses and love. Forever”, closing his bereaved relatives. To the smell of incense, a Lou Reed on CD sings the first notes of his title track Perfect Day. The family chose for the last moments a poignant farewell. Not national or bombastic, but sensible and actionable. Until the thunder of applause that greeted Dani’s coffin when it left the cathedral. Destination is the family vault in the cemetery of Saint-Martin where the beautiful and great woman with booms and bangs is buried in the strictest privacy.

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