Jeanne was the world's oldest person
Jeanne Calment lived through France's Third and Fourth Republics, and into its Fifth. Born in Arles to a prosperous family, she met Vincent van Gogh in 1888 when he came to her uncle's shop to buy paints, and later remembered him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable". Mme Calment was 14 when the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889. She also reported attending the funeral of Victor Hugo. Her husband, Fernand Calment (1896 - 1942) died at about 46 years of age and she survived him by some 55 years.
Calment took up fencing at the age of 85 and gave up smoking in 1995, aged 120; her doctor said her abstinence was due to pride rather than health – she was too blind to light a cigarette herself, and hated asking others to do it for her ...
Read about other late starters and late achievers, at Wilson's Almanac
Categories: france, longevity