Carlos Ghosn with the 350Z
The festival jury also presented the 'Palme d'Or' to Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Company, naming him "Man of the Year in the World Automobile Industry".
The "Most Beautiful Car of the Year" award is an annual accolade voted for by the public in a nationwide competition organised by French television station TF1.
This year's competition took place over an 11-week period, during which over 400 000 people registered their votes. The final round of the competition saw the Nissan 350Z triumph ahead of the BMW 5-series, the Peugeot 307CC and the BMW Z4.
The Nissan 350Z sports coupe was launched in Europe in September last year and is now in South Africa.
It is already the best-selling sports car in both the United States and Japan and, judging by the long waiting list, it is set to emulate this performance in South Africa.
The festival jury also presented the Palme d'Or to Carlos Ghosn and praised Nissan's spectacular recovery following the forming of its alliance with Renault.
Jury president Remi Depoix said: "The 'Palme d'Or' is only awarded on exceptional occasions - this is only the fourth time in 19 years. This year, the jury was unanimous in voting for Carlos Ghosn as Man of the Year - he has displayed an unfaltering resolve, recorded outstanding results, and has established himself as a great visionary in the automotive industry."
Last year's award was won by Formula 1 world champion racing driver Michael Schumacher.
Reacting to the two awards, Ghosn said: "I am very honoured to see Nissan recognised in this way. I would like to dedicate these awards to all the Nissan teams across the world who have concentrated their efforts, enthusiasm and skill to bring exceptional products, such as the 350Z, to the market."