Honey made in Paris ? The idea may seem absurd to you, and yet the city now has more than 400 beehives on its roofs !
Throughout the year, colonies of workers make their honey from the Parisian rooftops, notably those of the Hôtel des Invalides or the Opéra Garnier. While honey production in France has increased, the analyzes of the Abeille, sentinel of the environment program set up by the UNAF in December 2005 say a lot about the pollen diversity of flowers and bee trees in the Paris region. Evidenced by the predominance, in Paris, of polyfloral honeys. Contrary to what one might think, the metropolis is very conducive to the production of honey. Its mild temperatures, cultivation methods without fertilizers or pesticides and the proliferation of green spaces are all elements in favor of its exceptional quality. The city bee is three times more active than that of the fields. For a very simple reason: the urban environment is less polluted today than the cultivated areas of rural areas.
The bees of Paris are in very good health
This is confirmed by Nicolas Géant, the beekeeper in charge (and donor) of the three hives that shelter the roof of the sacristy of Notre-Dame: « People remained on an image of the city in the 19th century, when we sent all our polluting industries to the other side of the world. Morality: The bees of Paris are in very good health ! In addition to the famous school apiary in the Luxembourg garden – the second oldest in the world – the capital is home to artificial structures that house foraging bees. Between May and July 2009, three beehives flourished on the roof of the Grand Palais, followed by two new colonies the following year. The community concocts an average of 20 kilos of honey per hive per year. That is a production of about 600 kilos for six years. With its share of surprises: in 2011, 24% of Parisian honey was made up of orange and lemon tree pollen. The « fault » to the cultivated terraces of individuals as much as to the proximity of the municipal gardens.
The Musée d’Orsay owns 30,000 bees
In the spring of 2012, the Musée d’Orsay in turn decided to open access to its roof to a duo of beehives despite its rugged configuration. The old train station, converted into an art gallery, owns around 30,000 bees that get their supplies from the Tuileries and draw water from the Seine to air-condition the hive using their wings. With notes of linden and chestnut, their honey is sold in stores at 15 euros a small jar. To make their honey known and pass on their passion for bees to their neighbours, some beekeepers do not hesitate to offer tastings in their neighborhoods.