Jeanne Calment met van Gogh at the age of ten, started fencing at the age of 85, was bicycling at the age of 100 and died 122 years old. She also smoked for 96 years and is quoted saying: “I’ve never had but one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it.”
Jeanne Louise Calment was a French supercentenarian who had the longest confirmed human lifespan in history, living to the age of 122 years, 164 days. She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, outliving both her daughter and grandson by several decades. Calment became especially well known from the age of 113, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh’s visit brought reporters to Arles. She entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1988, and on 17 October 1995 became the oldest person ever, having surpassed the (now discounted) case of Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan.
Calment became the last living documented person born in the 1870s when the Japanese supercentenarian Tane Ikai (born 1879) died on 12 July 1995, and was thenceforth more than five and a half years older than any other living human being until her death over two years later; in total she outlived 329 undisputedly-verified supercentenarians. Her lifespan has been thoroughly documented by scientific study. More records have been produced to verify her age than in any other case.
Health and lifestyle
Calment’s remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85 (1960), she took up fencing, and continued to ride her bicycle up until her 100th birthday. She was reportedly neither athletic nor fanatical about her health. Calment lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home after a cooking accident (she was having complications with sight) started a small fire in her house. However, Calment was still in good shape, and continued to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years 11 months (January 1990), which required surgery. Calment smoked from the age of 21 (1896) to 117 (1992), though according to an unspecified source, she smoked no more than two cigarettes per day. After her operation, Calment needed to use a wheelchair. She weighed 45 kilograms (99 lb) in 1994.Calment ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram (2.2 lb) of chocolate every week.[”