1. Danielle Steel (Officer, 2002)
The bilingual romantic novelist has a longstanding love-affair with France, having “bounced” between Paris and New York since childhood. Famed for her love stories, such as Season of Passion (1979) and Sunset in St Tropez (2003). Steel has written 128 books in 30 years and sold 600m copies.
2. Amanda Lear (Knight, 2006)
French-born Lear modelled for Ossie Clark and Paco Rabanne, played muse to Salvador Dalí and had an affair with David Bowie (whom she introduced to expressionism and Fritz Lang). The 1970s saw her release European disco hits including “Enigma (Give a Bit of Mmh to me)” (1978). She was honoured for her “significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance”.
3. Roger Moore (Commander, 2008)
Best known for playing navy commander turned British secret agent James Bond, Moore, was named a commandeur at the age of 81. Moore, who first played Bond in Live and Let Die (1973), was lauded as “a legendary actor with an immense heart”.
4. André Rieu (Knight, 2009)
Rieu was born in the Netherlands in 1949 and began playing violin aged five. In 1987, he created the Johann Strauss Orchestra and, as it grew in popularity in Europe, became known as the “Waltz King”. Critics have dubbed him the “Schmaltz King” but that hasn’t prevented him from selling out more stadiums than Bruce Springsteen.
5. Leiji Matsumoto (Knight, 2012)
A Japanese artist and animator renowned for creating Captain Harlock – a stoic space pirate who first appeared in 1953 – Matsumoto, 75, has a big following in manga-mad France. More recently he has worked with French duo Daft Punk, creating an “animated house musical” about the abduction and rescue of an intergalactic band.