Spanish actress Penelope Cruz was made a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier Dans L'Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres) in a ceremony in Paris, France yesterday (11JAN06).

The sultry BLOW actress, who appeared French film Fanfan La Tulipe three years ago (03), was honoured for her international film career, which includes performances in English, Italian, French and her native Spanish.

France's culture minister Renaud Donnedieu De Vabres enthused, "It's France's role to be the ardent defender of cultural diversity and to recognise those who extend, with their talent, the culture of their country. I'm happy to have honoured this great European actress."

Bashful Cruz, who was joined at the ceremony by her BANDIDAS co-star Salma Hayek, said, "I'm not sure that I deserve it, but I will do my best so that you won't regret it."

Previous Hollywood recipients of the arts honours include LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, Martin Scorsese and BRUCE WILLIS - who received titles last year (05).