He was promoted to the rank of Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour (the Légion d’honneur) by President Francois Hollande in a private ceremony this morning at the Elysee Palace. President Hollande personally decorated Paul with the insignia of the Legion of Honour himself in front of an audience of Paul’s family and friends.
During the presentation the President praised Paul for his contribution to the arts, not just in France but all over the world.
The award is a huge honor for Paul as the order is usually only conferred to French nationals, chiefly those who have served France in military or civil life. The award was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Foreign nationals may only receive a distinction of the Legion of Honour in extraordinary circumstances and British recipients of the order in the past have included Queen Elizabeth II, Laurence Olivier, author Graham Greene and war veteran Henry Allingham.