Sir Paul McCartney received France's highest public distinction "The Legion d'Honneur" during a private ceremony before family and friends Saturday at the Elysee Palace in Paris. French President Francois Hollande praised McCartney's contributions to music and also remarked that he preferred McCartney to John Lennon when he was younger.

"It is such an honor to be awarded this," Paul said during the ceremony.

The Legion d'Honneur is usually given to French nationals who have served in military or civil life. Sir Paul was made an Officer of the Legion d'Honneur.

Author J.K. Rowling, actor Laurence Olivier are other British recipients of the honor. Americans include Jerry Lewis, David Lynch, Barbra Streisand and Bruce Willis.