Gauloises are a French brand of cigarette, manufactured by Altadis. The name means “Gallic [cigarettes]”, and the emblem is the helmet of a Gallic warrior.
The brand first appeared in 1910. In 1925 the packaging was redesigned to a distinctive blue packet with a helmet design which is still used today. Filtered Gauloises appeared in the 1950’s. When the brand first appeared it was made from dark tobacco, but in 1984 the brand was extended to an American type blend of light tobacco, named Gauloises Blondes. A Gauloise lower tar version is also available, sold in a red packet.
Gauloise remain a popular brand of cigarettes worldwide, although sales have declined in recent years with the decline of cigarette smoking.
In September 2005, production in France ceased, and now the cigarettes are solely produced in Spain. The move followed from declining sales in France.
The brand is most famous for its very high strength cigarettes, especially in its original unfiltered form.
The writer Jean Paul Sartre was a famous smoker of Gauloises, and was rarely pictured without a cigarette in his hand. George Orwell also mentions that he smokes the brand in Down and Out in Paris and London. This, together with the romantic associations of France, makes Gauloises a popular brand among some writers and artists. The brand is also featured in the Roman Polanski film The Tenant.