"I know 65 million French people who would like to be in my shoes right now," joked President Nicolas Sarkozy as he welcomed Robert Redford to Paris.
The French leader was speaking after pinning his country's prestigious Legion of Honour award on the actor's lapel.
Robert – the founder of the Sundance Film Festival – was accompanied by his long-term love Sibylle Szaggars, whom he wed last year.
The award recognised a career spanning over four decades, featuring films such as 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting (1973) and 1985's Out of Africa.
"Those who love cinema long remember your films, which we watch and re-watch with the same emotion each time," said the president.
Thanking him, the screen talent said the prize would help him continue his commitment to "cinema that opens people's spirits and goes beyond borders".