Kylie Minogue receiving French award

Honored on eve of her world tour kickoff

LONDON -- Kylie Minogue will be presented with one of France's highest cultural awards.

The Australian singer will receive the prestigious "Chevalier dans L'ordre des Arts et Lettres" (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) at a ceremony Monday in Paris, on the eve of her world tour kickoff.

The honor, which acknowledges her "contribution to the enrichment of French culture," sees Minogue joins the ranks of celebrated past recipients, which includes singers Ella Fitzgerald and Bob Dylan, plus actors Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

"I am deeply honored to be recognized in this way," the Melbourne-born, London-based artist said Friday. "French culture has influenced me greatly and I have always had colossal respect for the arts and people of France".

Minogue is in something on a purple patch when it comes to trophies. In December, she became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for "services to music," an honor which she will receive from Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony in July.

The artist, who recovered from breast cancer to relaunch her career in 2007 with her 10th album "X" (Parlophone), claimed the U.K. Music Industry Trusts' Award last October, becoming the first female beneficiary of the prestigious gift, and at 39, the youngest in its 16-year history. And in February, she collected the international female artist gong at the Brit Awards.

However, Minogue won't have much time to reflect on her prizes. Her "KYLIE X2008" tour commences Tuesday at the Paris Bercy, after which time it travels through much of Europe.

The run, which cost a reputed 10 million pounds ($20 million) to stage, will include Minogue's first-ever dates in Greece, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Luxembourg, Russia, Latvia and Spain. The tour wraps in London on Aug. 4 with the last of seven nights at the 02 Arena.

Her record company this week reported that more than 500,000 tickets had been sold.