In bestowing the Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters on Smith in Paris Sunday, Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres called her "one of the most influential artists in women's rock 'n' roll," the BBC reported.
Smith, 58, accepted the award from her "most spiritual side."
"I have vowed to live up to this honor in my work and my conduct," she said. "I can't explain what I feel like. It has uplifted me, and I will work very hard to earn it."