Happy Bees in the City of Love
Paris: a city that inspires visions of romance. It is undoubtable that when talking to people about their experiences here, food and love arise: cheese and wine; life on the banks of the river; time spent eating, romancing and smelling the roses. It is common knowledge that the French way of life is enviable. It is slow, classic, minimal, and therefore perfect for our current, anxiety-ridden times. It is about regularly enjoying quality and decadence in small quantities.
Paris is also about the bespoke, about art and appreciating the pleasure that comes with making your own, buying locally, and indulging each day in earthly delights. French diets reflect this, and food is a pivotal element of everyday pleasure. The simple, yet often lost, art of sitting at a table to share a meal and a glass of vino is a daily ritual that brings people together and encourages a sense of community; it couldn’t be further from eating a prepackaged microwave meal in front of the television, or scoffing down a sandwich while rushing back to the office! It has been almost five years since I was last in Paris, and on flying in last night, all of the city’s mystique and joy came rushing back to me.
For natural beekeepers who thrive on the intricacies of their practice, the French philosophy to life fits in perfectly with their own ethos: harmony, boutique levels of food production and an appreciation for how things are made. This blend of artistry and culinary dedication makes Parisian bees some of the world’s happiest (at least that’s what I’ve heard from the ones I’ve spoken to since arriving!). French beekeeper, Audric de Campeau, set up his first hives in the city in 2009, and was fascinated to learn that his Parisian-based bees actually produced double the amount of honey than this colonies in the country’s northeastern Champagne region!
As we discovered, city bees are actually very happy bees, and many studies suggest that bees living in the city are healthier and produce more honey than their country counterparts. Paris, therefore, joins the stakes of cities such as New York and London; with its large expanses of greenery, and mix of flowers and plant-life, the bees that make this ‘city of love’ their home are doing well for themselves! In turn, it isn’t unusual to find hints of red berries and lychees in Parisian honey, with some 700 local hives being counted in parks, private residences and office buildings across the city.