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Paris pays tribute to Madiba with Mandela gardens

The Eiffel Tower is lit up in the colours of the South African flag
The Eiffel Tower is lit up in the colours of the South African flag Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Three nights of tribute to Nelson Mandela kicked off in Paris on Saturday with the Eiffel Tower lit with the colours of the South African flag and displaying the name of the country's former president.

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A public gathering was planned for 5.30pm Sunday to coincide with Mandela's burial.

And the gardens at the redeveloped Les Halles shopping mall is to be given Mandela's name during a ceremony on Thursday.

"For many of us the fight against apartheid was an important part of our public lives, and we wanted to pay tribute to its leader," Paris deputy mayor Pierre Schapira told RFI. "The city of Paris has been paying tribute for some time. Earlier this year there was a cultural week between France and South Africa. And we set up a large exhibit about Mandela at City Hall, complete with a replica of his prison cell."

The city council also voted to make Mandela an honorary citizen and delivered the honour to a member of his family in July.

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