Elderly couple commit suicide at luxury hotel in Paris

An elderly couple have been found dead in a Paris hotel holding hands after a carrying out a suicide pact.

Bernard and Georgette Cazes, both 86, were found by staff at the Hotel Lutetia holding hands on their bed with plastic bags over their heads.

The Daily Mail reports the couple had ordered breakfast in bed to ensure their bodies would be found quickly.

It is thought they chose the hotel on the Left Bank, popular with artistic greats like Pablo Picasso, because they had stayed there together when they were young.

Mrs Cazes had left a typed note criticising the French authorities' ban on euthanasia.

Accoridng to the Independent.ie, the letter read: "The law forbids access to any lethal pills that would enable a soft death.

"Should my freedom be only limited by that of others? Who has the right to hinder a person with nobody in their charge, who is up to date with their taxes, having worked all these years and then as a volunteer in the social services (to end their life)? Who has the right to force them to commit cruel practices when they want to leave this life serenely?"

Speaking to Le Parisien, their eldest son said on Monday that they had made their decision to die together "several decades ago".

According to thelocal.fr, he said: "They feared being separated or dependent, more than they feared death."

A 2005 law was passed in France making it legal for doctors to administer painkillers at a level that they know, as a secondary effect, could shorten a patient's life.

But it is illegal to deliberately withhold treatment that could prolong life (passive euthanasia) or to administer drugs with the primary effect of ending a patient's life (active euthanasia).

The couple's death has reignited the debate surrounding the issue in France.

Friends and family described the couple as "dynamic" and "charming": Mr Cazes was an economist-philosopher and author of several books.

One neighbour in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux said they had lived as they died: "Always arm in arm."

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