Shakira has cemented her reputation as one of the biggest worldwide music stars still in the game by being given one of the most prestigious awards in France, the Colombian pop sensation being awarded the French culture medal in recognition of her contribution to the world of fine arts.

The 34 year-old has been a big star in both the UK and the US ever since her breakthrough single 'Whenever, Wherever' back in 2001 - a track that rocketed to number two on the UK Singles Chart and six on the US Billboard Charts on its release. However by that point she'd already sold millions of copies of albums written in her native language of Spanish, dating back to 1996's 'Pies Descalzos,' and as such has always come across as being truly at her artistically most adored in countries outside of music's traditional twin axis of Britain and America. This latest award does nothing to knock that assumption, and indeed Shakira herself was nothing short of honoured to receive it.

"I am so humbled to receive this honour in a country like France that has shared an important cultural legacy with the rest of the world," said the singer upon accepting the award from French Minister of Culture FREDERIC MITTERAND at the weekend. She was in France already to open the country's NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, reports the BBC. Whilst there she picked up another award, the NRJ Award Of Honour.