Bob Dylan was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honour, which was established by Napoleon to recognise individuals who have served France in various ways, at a low-key ceremony in Paris yesterday.

French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said 72-year-old Dylan was "a hero for young people hungry for justice and independence", adding that he had been inspired by poets including the French symbolists Verlaine and Rimbaud.

According to the BBC, a journalist who attended the ceremony said Dylan had looked "distinctly uncomfortable". After the speech, the singer, who is playing concerts in Paris this week, said he was "proud and grateful" and left.

The award was temporarily blocked earlier this year after army general Jean-Louis Georgelin voiced reservations about Dylan's use of cannabis and his anti-war politics.