“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Opium on the French Riviera in the 1920s & 1930s…

Posted: October 12th, 2019 | No Comments »

Just read Anne de Courcy’s Chanel’s Riviera in which the English artist Sir Francis Rose comments on the opium culture of the French Riviera in the 1920s and 1930s…

Francis Cyril Rose, also Sir Francis, 4th Baronet of the Montreal Roses, was an English painter vigorously championed by Gertrude Stein who spent a lot of time on the French Riviera with his esteemed travel writing wife Dorothy Carrington. In the 1920s he referred to opium as “the gentleman’s drug”, ‘We Europeans of the 20s and 30s only smoked opium bought in sealed purple tins, which were smuggled from Indo-China where it was openly sold by the French in the same way that Benares opium was sold by the British government in all the tobacco shops in Hong Kong.’ Rose noted that if the purple tins weren’t available then the Bohemian denizens of the Riviera  had to buy raw opium which looked like a great clot of mud and involved days of cooking and filtering and a produced a smell some loved and others detested.

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