French twins celebrating 104th birthday share secret to longevity

Simone Thiot and Paulette Olivier were born before the outbreak of the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic

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The Independent Online

French twins born prematurely have shared their secret to longevity after celebrating their 104th birthday. 

Simone Thiot and Paulette Olivier were born on January 30 1912, before the outbreak of the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic. 

Due in March, doctors gave the pair a slim chance of survival after arriving three months prematurely, with Simone weighing less than a kilo and her sister just three pounds.

They were born to parents Marie Lamolie, a dressmaker, and Joseph, a carpenter, they told The Local

Simone recalled: “We were premature. We were due in March but we were born in January.

“They gave us a very small chance of surviving. 

“They had to keep us wrapped up for four months.“

The sisters marked the big day at their retirement home in Onzain, central France, where they have become something of a local celebrity. 

They were sent flowers from the local council, prompting them to gush “we’re being very spoiled”. 

Despite living in separate rooms, the ladies revealed the secret to a long and happy life is simply sticking together. 

They said: “We are still alive because we have always stayed close.

”We keep our independence - each of us has her own room - but we only need to cross the corridor to see and talk to each other.

“We pity old people who are alone with no one to visit them.”

Ageing well runs in the family, with their only brother living to 99 before he died in an accident. 

But above all else it is their enduring friendship with each other that has kept them going, as despite marrying neither had children. 

Paulette was widowed aged just 36, working as a hairdresser in Algeria for 15 years before moving to Paris. 

Simone, who became a dressmaker like their mother, lost her husband when she was 64. 

But alongside company, they keep their mind sharp through following current affairs, reading, listening to music and watching the television.

Steering clear of alcohol was another top tip for living to a ripe old age, they said. 

Their last pearls of wisdom for a long and happy life were: “A simple life - no excess. No alcohol. And lots of sport.

”We did gymnastics for a long time and a huge amount of cycling - almost every day.“