The former California governor was given the prize at a special ceremony held on Monday in Cannes, where he also had his hands cast in cement to later be displayed on the city's Walk of Fame.
France's Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand officially presented Schwarzenegger with the Legion's highest prize, the Chevalier of the Arts and Letters.
During his remarks to the assembled reporters, the Terminator actor contended that he takes great pride in accepting the award.
"I'm very happy to receive this because... Cannes and France [have] been a very important part [of my success]," he said. "[Cannes has been] a great help for my career."
Since the establishment of the Legion of Honour in 1802, the prize has been awarded to such luminaries as singer Barbra Streisand, director David Lynch, author J.K. Rowling and Queen Elizabeth II.
Schwarzenegger recently announced that he is pairing with Stan Lee to develop a new cartoon series called The Governator.
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Watch footage of Monday's Legion of Honour ceremony below: