Mourners lined up for hours on Monday for their opportunity to pay their last respects to former Quebec premier Bernard Landry.

Landry was lying in state at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica after being on display in the National Assembly over the weekend.

Among the mourners paying their respects on Monday were former premiers Pauline Marois and Jean Charest, and former Parti Quebecois minister Serge Menard.

Charest was one of the first who arrived to pay his respects. He said his former Parti Quebecois opponent "would make us suffer during debates."

Charest saluted Landry's investments in the province's video game industry and his economic vision for the province.

"He gave economic credibility to the sovereignty movement," Charest said.

Charest's successor, Pauline Marois, who held several portfolios in Landry's government, struck an emotional tone.

"We always have the impression that people like this will never go, will never leave us," said Marois.

"Intellectual quality. His ideas were clear, his arguments: always," said Menard.

Andre Binette, who worked for Landry, admired many of his qualities, including "his quiet serenity, his confidence in the people of Quebec and the future of Quebec."

Many of the people attending Monday's visitation said that Landry and his passion for an independent Quebec were an inspiration.

"He was a wonderful premier, and he was so great for us, because he gave us the sense of honour, of pride," said Luc Guay, who travelled from Sherbrooke for the occasion.

Landry died last Tuesday at age 81 of complications from pulmonary disease.

His state funeral takes place Tuesday at Notre-Dame Basilica.

- With a report from The Canadian Press