Marianne Faithfull has been awarded one of the highest cultural honours in France.

The 64-year-old singer-and-actress - who shot to fame after being discovered by Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards in 1964 - received the Commandeur of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander of the Arts and Letters) from French Minister of Culture and Communication Frederic Mitterrand yesterday (22.03.11).

Marianne - who currently divides her time between Paris and Ireland - accepted the accolade for contributing to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance at Paris' Le Theatre du Chatelet, where she was performing in concert.

While receiving the award, the 'Come and Stay With Me' singer thanked the French people for being "welcoming and loving" towards her.

She said: "I am very, very grateful to be so honoured. When a friend, Etienne Daho, was presented with an honour a few years ago I went to the ceremony but never thought I would be a recipient. Since I started coming to Paris in 1964 the French have welcomed me and been very loving.

"I met some very interesting people when I first came here, two of whom were Bruno Coquatrix, the great impresario who ran the Olympia theatre, and his wife, who is still alive and still a friend.

"Every night they would drive to my hotel, the Hotel du Seine in a Citroen DS. I don't think I've ever been more impressed by any other car. It hovered. That is when I remember first falling in love with Paris and I have loved it ever since."

Marianne joins the likes of Bob Dylan, Sir Michael Caine and Clint Eastwood, all of whom have been made Commandeur of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recent years.