The accolade of being the oldest person in history belongs to a lady called Jeanne Louise Calment, who was born on 21st February 1875 in Arles, France and lived there her whole life.
Jeanne was the oldest verified living person ever, according to the Guinness Book Of World Records. She lived to be 122 years and 164 days old, passing away on the 4th August 1997.
During her lifetime, she met the world renowned painter Vincent van Gogh, when he walked into her uncle’s art shop to buy some canvasses for his paintings. She also remembered seeing the Eiffel Tower being built in 1889.
She got married at 21 years to a wealthy store owner named Fernand.
Although Jeanne never worked, she kept herself active with various hobbies, such as tennis, cycling, swimming, playing the piano, opera and roller-skating.
Jeanne outlived her husband, daughter and even her grandson. She decided at the age of 85 years old to take up fencing and continued to ride her bike until she was 100 years.
She smoked from the age of 21 years until she reached 117 years old and in 1995, when she reached 115 years, she starred as herself in a film called ‘Vincent and Me’, which made her the oldest actress ever to appear in a film.
Jeanne also starred in a film about her life called ‘Beyond 120 years with Jeanne Calment’ and also featured on an album called Time’s Mistress in 1996, on which she was recorded speaking over a backing of rap music.
Jeanne claimed that apart from her calm nature, her diet of olive oil, port, wine and 2 pounds of chocolate every week sustained her long life and youthful looks.
Feature Image of Jeanne Calmert on her 120th birthday by Eric Fougere/Getty Images