The Beatles’ Paul McCartney picks up French Legion of Honour for services to music

Legendary singer headed to the Élysée Palace in Paris this weekend to pick up the medal

Paul McCartney picked up France’s highest public award, the French Legion of Honour, this weekend for his services to music.

The former Beatle was decorated with the honour by French President François Hollande in a ceremony on Saturday at the Élysée Palace in Paris. “It is such an honour to be awarded this,” he said.

President Hollande praised McCartney’s contribution to music and joked that he preferred the Beatles to the Rolling Stones. He then said he had preferred McCartney to fellow Beatle John Lennon when he was younger, the Guardian reports.

The French Legion of Honour was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is usually only given to French nationals, mostly to those who have served in civil or military life.

Queen Elizabeth II, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli actor Sir Laurence Olivier, and author Graham Greene have also received the award.

Yesterday (September 8), Paul McCartney joined Damon Albarn on stage at the London leg of the Africa Express show. Appearing as a surprise special guest, the former Beatle first appeared playing bass on Rokia Traore’s ‘Dounia’, with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on mandolin, before playing Wings’ ‘Coming Up’ and ‘Goodnight Tonight’ with the Blur frontman, Tony Allen and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals among others.