World's oldest person enjoys champagne in French Caribbean

4th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A 114-year-old French woman who this week became the world's oldest person lives on a Caribbean island and still enjoys a glass of champagne every now and then, especially on her birthday.

Eugenie Blanchard, who lives on the French island of Saint Barths, won the title after Japan's Kama Chinen died on Sunday, just a week short of her 115th birthday, the Gerontology Research Group said.

Blanchard was born on February 16, 1896, the group said.

For the past 20 years, she has been living at the Bruyn hospital in Saint Barts and her nephew Daniel Blanchard told AFP that the woman known as "La Douchy" -- a Creole word for candy -- still had a zest for life.

"Because of her age, she had to be hospitalised but she still loves having a glass of champagne, at least on her birthday," Blanchard said in 2008.

France holds the European record for longevity, with an impressive number of centenarians including Jeanne Calment who lived to the ripe old age of 122 years and 164 days.

Chinen lived on Okinawa in Japan's far south, a sub-tropical island whose inhabitants are well known for their robust health into advanced age.

"Though confined to a wheelchair in her later years, Chinen still enjoyed the wonders of nature and being outside," Guinness World Records said in announcing her death earlier Tuesday.

Chinen's reign as the oldest living person began on the death of US woman Gertrude Baines, who passed away in September 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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