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Piccard to receive Légion d'Honneur

Bertrand Piccard in his balloon just before he started his journey in March 1999

(Keystone Archive)

The record-breaking Swiss balloonist, Bertrand Piccard, has been awarded France's highest award, the Légion d'Honneur, by the country's president, Jacques Chirac. The award is in recognition of Piccard's around-the-world balloon trip in March 1999.

Piccard is to receive his medal at a special ceremony at the French Senate in Paris on October 3. Andrée Fradet, a spokeswoman for the Senate, said the balloonist had been cited for the honour by the president of the French Senate, Christian Poncelet.

According to Fradet, Piccard was receiving the decoration for his record-breaking feat and "for what he represented in the eyes of every Frenchman."

Piccard and his companion, Brian Jones, became the first people ever to circumvent the globe on board the Breitling Orbiter III. The pair completed their journey in a time of 19 days 1 hour and 49 minutes, having travelled 42,810 kilometres.

swissinfo with agencies

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