Marianne Faithfull has received one of the highest cultural honours in France.
The singer and actress, whose career stretches back to 1964, has been made Commandeur of L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

The honour was bestowed upon Marianne yesterday evening by Frédéric Mitterrand, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, at the Le Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where she was performing in concert.

L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is presented in recognition of significant contributions to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.

“Commandeur” is the highest of the orders and Marianne, who divides her time between Paris and Ireland when not on tour, has joined an elite group of recipients, including Sir Michael Caine, Patti Smith and Marcel Marceau.

“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” said Marianne.

“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 Faithfull has recently released her 23rd album ‘Horses & High Heels’ (Dramatico) and is currently on a world tour which includes three dates in Britain in May (24th Barbican, 23rd Gateshead Sage, 26th Leamington Spa Assembly).

She remains one of the most unique, bewitching and indeed unconventional musical artists Britain has ever produced.