France’s oldest woman dies at 111

France's oldest woman Maria Richard has died at the age of 111, the retirement home where she lived said on Thursday.

The Belgian-born Richard passed away overnight in the home at Beziers in southern France, where she had been living since 2010.

She became France's oldest woman when Paule Bronzini died at the end of August, just one and a half months after feting her 112th birthday.

Richard was born on November 26th, 1900 in Belgium and acquired French nationality. She refused to let herself be photographed in the past few years.

The world's oldest woman and oldest person is 116-year-old Besse Cooper of the United States.

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Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France

Honorine Rondello was born into a fishing family in Brittany in 1903 but has lived most of her life by the Côte d’Azur in south-eastern France.

Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Honorine Rondello lived here in Menton until midway through the Second World War. Photo: Guenter M. Kirchweger

She became the oldest living French person on Tuesday after the death of Grenoble resident Élisabeth Collot, who was also 113. 

Rondello moved south from Britanny for work at the age of 16 and met her husband in her new home town, Menton. 

There they lived until allied German and Italian forces evacuated the town during the Second World War and the pair moved to the village of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

She worked until she was 73 and “never wanted for anything”, Rondello told the local Var Matin newspaper. 

“At night when I can’t sleep I sometimes recall my past, my youth. We weren’t rich but we were happy, we were content with what we had,” she said. 

“Today people are never happy. The more they have, the more they want.” 

Workers at the care home where she lives described the 113-year-old as a smiling, vibrant woman who took a stroll in the garden every day without fail.  

“She’s a very humble, modest women, who’s passionate about the news,” one member of staff told the France Bleu Provence radio station. “She reads the newspaper every day and watches the news on TV,” he added.