Our last stop was Paris. When I got to Paris, I wanted to make sure I got to La Maison du Miel, but while walking around Paris, I saw this place. They had lots of interesting honeys for sale, but I did not buy any. One of my “must-visit” places in Paris was Poilâne, a famous pâtisserie. We got there in the afternoon, so we did not have much of a selection to choose from. What I did notice, though, was the number of honey bees buzzing around in the shop and landing on the apple tarts. The bees helped me to decide what to order.
We had two! (Apple tarts, that is, not bees…) Neither the employees nor the customers were bothered by the bees in the shop. We found ourselves wondering where these bees had come from. Were these some of the girls who live in the Opera House hives?
Next, we headed over to the Paris Opera House, where there are reputed beehives on the roof. We didn’t get to see the hives, nor did we spot bees flying in the vicinity, but the building was very beautiful: Does anyone know if there are tours to see the Opera House bees?
The next day, we headed over to La Maison du Miel: Besides all the different kinds of honey which line the shelves, the store also offered a nice selection of honey-based edibles. I bought some nougat. This nougat wasn’t quite as good as the artisanal lavender-honey nougat we bought at the Sarlat farmers’ market, but in a pinch, it would do.
The next place, Comptoir des Abbayes, we found accidentally.I looked inside and saw many jars of honey from different monasteries. I had hoped to visit a monastery with beehives this trip, but this shop was the closest I’d get.
Beekeeping Adventures in Europe: Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France
While I was searching for a geocache in the area of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France, I spotted what looked like beehives in the distance. Could it be? The only beehive I had seen during my travels was a nuc box in a garbage heap behind the tourist office in St-Cirq-Lapopie. As an aside, I recommend visiting that village if you ever get out there as it is always getting voted one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was getting near the end of our trip and didn’t think I would see any beehives, so I didn’t believe these would be viable beehives.
As I got closer, I noticed some bees coming in and out of the entrance of the hive. If you look closely, you can see some bees at the entrance, but there weren’t many! The hives were in ragged shape, and I wondered how often the beekeeper visited these hives. As I looked around the area, I didn’t notice much in the way of forage for the bees.
As I walked around the hives, it seemed that these hives were homemade. Interestingly, the hives’ bottom boards were attached to the hives’ bodies with a simple, but seemingly effective apparatus. The beekeeper even put together a trap of some sort in front of the hives. Was it for wasps?
I am glad that at least I saw some beehives! By the way, the area around Les Eyzies is famous for the number of cave paintings in the area.
Update on the Bees in Telephone Pole, October
When I returned from Europe, one of my first tasks was to check on the telephone pole bees. Progress! This is what I saw: I was happy to see that the pole had been cut and that the section the bees call home had been safely protected during our time away. But last Friday, as I went to the market, I was alarmed to see that the metal protective covering was gone!
What had happened? Did the bee harassers pull the metal off? I hurried over there, and my worry turned to gladness when I saw this: I was glad that a beekeeper finally extracted the bees and moved them to a safe place. I was also glad to learn that the hive would be returned to the neighborhood–to a backyard where they would no longer be subjected to constant harassment.
Interestingly, you can see how much space the hive occupied when you look into the pole. When you look at the base of the pole, you can tell that the cavity which formed the bees’ nest extended two feet below ground level, so perhaps the hive was about five feet tall!
I am glad the bees will have a new and safe home in an area they know well. Good luck to the bees!