THE BEE PHOTOGRAPHER

Éric Tourneret

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Paris’s bees

 

 

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees01

Paris, Opera Garnier.
Jean Paucton, 76 years old, set up his hives twenty years ago on the roof of the Opera just by chance. A prop man at the opera, he took courses in beekeeping at the Société Centrale for apiculture in the Luxembourg gardens. Sharing his time between Paris and the Creuse, he didn’t know what to do with a hive given to him by a friend. It was the Opera fireman, who himself bred fish in the underground pond beneath the opera, who gave him the idea of setting the bees up on the roof of the Garnier.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees02

Paris, Opera Garnier.
Jean Paucton, 76 years old, on the roof of the opera opening up a hive and inspecting a frame. “In urban apiculture, raising bees is easier because, firstly, the temperature is milder in Paris, by about 3°C, which allows them to go out more. Secondly, the flora is very diversified: linden, chestnut trees…”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees03

Paris, Opera Garnier. Jean Paucton.
“The Opera, that came about because of a hive I had left in the hallway of my apartment on the Rue de Richelieu. Just behind it there were the 400 linden trees of the Palais Royal.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees04

Paris, Opera Garnier.
Jean Paucton, 76 years old, carries a hive in front of the Opera Garnier. “I have become despite myself the most famous beekeeper in the world. And I began selling at Fauchon by just going to see them. That’s how things worked then.
My customers are above all seduced by the bit “Opéra de Paris”. It would work on the Eiffel Tower also. It’s a small, inexpensive souvenir. I sell 125 grams for 4.50€, that makes 36€ a kilo. The price for the public reaches 120€ per kilo, which makes it one of the most expensive honeys in the world.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees05

Paris, Opera Garnier.
Jean Paucton, 76 years old, on the roof of the Opera. “Urban apiculture is a way of making people understand what is happening in the beekeeping world. When bees die out, the environment is really in danger.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees06

Jean Paucton, at his home in Coignières in the Yvelines.
“I sometimes harvest over 100 kilos of honey per hive in Paris for less than 20 in Coignières or in the Creuse. I presently have five hives on the opera. I harvest little by little, frame by frame, the passage to get on to the roof is narrow. As a rule, I go on Sundays”.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees07

Olivier Darné, artist and urban beekeeper set up his first hives in 2000 on the roof of the Mayor’s Office of Saint-Denis, at the foot of the basilica. His apiary counts 20 hives. He has chosen bees as a medium, and for years now puts bees and questions on the sidewalks of the cities.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees08

Henry Meynadier, 62 years old, general director of the public relations company Anatome, in his office where he has set up a hive. “I spent my childhood in the Cévennes, and I probably had my first hive at the age of 10. Beekeeping is my family history, my roots… I set up this hive 4 years ago, following a lunch with Henri Clément, national director of the UNAF (National Union of French Apiculture). The discussion at that lunch centered on his concern to be able to resist the pesticides lobby and those international corporations that ruin our environment. Since I have a public relations company that works a lot on the big questions of public interest, I offered in an activist manner to contribute to their communications, to examine with him the manner in which we could establish a line of resistance to these lobbies.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees09

Roger Hottin and Maurice Henriot from the association Les Amis des Clos à Pêches in Bagnolet.
“The towns surrounding Paris were market gardening towns. The hillocks between Montreuil and Bagnolet were covered in gladioli that were sold in the Sunday market. Today, there’s nothing. In the 1950s, the suburbs were still the fruit and vegetable garden of Paris, there were the asparagus from Argenteuil, the peaches from Montreuil and Bagnolet.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees10

On June 4, 2009, Nicolas Géant set up a hive on the roof of the Grand Palais in Paris.
“I have about 150 hives to the west of Paris, one at Vuitton’s at the Pont Neuf bridge and today two on the roof of the Grand Palais. My objective in setting up these hives right in the heart of Paris is to point my finger at this paradox: the bee in the city does very well while those of the fields – not the county – do very badly. That shows that there are presently problems. So I looked for a mythical spot in Paris, I wanted it to be near the Champs-Elysées, which everyone knows, from New York to Tokyo.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees11

On the roof of the Grand Palais in Paris, Nicolas Géant opens a hive.
“The honey of the Grand Palais will be sold on the spot. For the moment, there are two hives, and the goal is to have five or six. I want to systematize this operation with the big companies in a city, in Paris and elsewhere: I am mounting a project with Google in California where half the roofs are equipped with solar panels. My main message is to again put the bees as close as possible to Man, like they have always been.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees12

Nicolas Géant going up on to the roof of the Grand Palais

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees12B

Nicolas Géant going up on to the roof of the Grand Palais

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees13

The installation of the first hive on the roof of the Grand Palais

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees14

On the roof of the Grand Palais, the installation of the first hive with the president of the Grand Palais, Yves Saint-Geours and photographers from the press agencies. This installation has known an overwhelming success and, since, the Grand Palais receives each week requests from television stations from around the world to film there.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees15

The apiary of the Société Centrale d’Apiculture in the Luxembourg gardens buzzes like a hive during the introductory courses in beekeeping. In 2009, places in the courses were filled within two hours. The craze for beekeeping is big. In Paris and in the provinces, amateurs have never before bought so many hives.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees16

A new educational apiary has been set up for children of the Institut National des Jeunes Sourds (National Institute for Young Deaf People). Inaugurated on June 4, the apiary with four hives has been installed in the big garden of the Institute on the Boulevard Saint Michel. The goal is the awakening and opening up of students, partly cut off from the world, through the fascinating world of bees.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees17

A new educational apiary has been set up for children of the Institut National des Jeunes Sourds (National Institute for Young Deaf People). Inaugurated on June 4, the apiary with four hives has been installed in the big garden of the Institute on the Boulevard Saint Michel. The goal is the awakening and opening up of students, partly cut off from the world, through the fascinating world of bees.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees18

Christophe Morlon, a sculpture teacher, by his hives on the roof of the professional lycée Jean-Jaurès in the 19th arrondissement.
“We put the hives on the school in the beginning of July 2008 to raise awareness of the students with difficulties (the lycée is a regional establishment of adapted teaching), who need orientating”.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees19

Daniel Jodet, 60 years old.
“I am a sculptor and professor at the Fine Arts School of Paris. My grandfather was a farmer and had one or two hives. It was the tradition in the countryside, you had to have bees, cows, goats, hens, rabbits out of a concern for self-sufficiency.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees20

Daniel Jodet, 60 years old.
“I am a sculptor and professor at the Fine Arts School of Paris. My grandfather was a farmer and had one or two hives. It was the tradition in the countryside, you had to have bees, cows, goats, hens, rabbits out of a concern for self-sufficiency.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees21

Jean Paucton in the Parc de la Villette puts a swarm of bees into hives to populate his apiary.
“In the Villette, I give classes on raising bees to children and adults. This quick introduction to beekeeping is much sought after because everyone wants to know more about bees. For me, urban apiculture allows us to denounce everything that is dumped into the fields, the insecticides like Cruiser, the herbicides…”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees22

The hive belonging to Rémy Vanbremeersch, 43 years old, on the roof of the recreation center on the Place des Fêtes in the 19th arrondissement. For him, beekeeping is a family history. “I started working as a steward for the airlines. After having lived in Paris it’s not easy to take over a farm again and farming has become too chemical. I put insecticides onto the fields when I was young, I don’t want to start all that again.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees23

The hive belonging to Rémy Vanbremeersch, 43 years old, on the roof of the recreation center on the Place des Fêtes in the 19th arrondissement. For him, beekeeping is a family history. “I started working as a steward for the airlines. After having lived in Paris it’s not easy to take over a farm again and farming has become too chemical. I put insecticides onto the fields when I was young, I don’t want to start all that again.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees24

Yves Védrenne of the SNA (National Apiculture Syndicate) at the apiary in the Parc Monceau.
“You must not say that everyone can have a hive in their garden. Beekeeping requires being educated in the subject, having the space sufficient for the bees. In the city, we prefer a gentle breed of bee like the Buckfast.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees25

Louis Pernot, 50 ans, pastor of the reformed church of the Étoile, set up three hives three years ago on the roof of this neo-baroque edifice on the Avenue de la Grande Armée.
“My parishioners found that super, the young come to see it, the people are interested, they find it original and they buy my honey, which sells like hot cakes and provides a financial addition to the parish. I studied to be an engineer. The difficulty with beekeeping in Paris is the neighbors. They love the country when it’s on TV but when the bees go onto their flowers, they’re scared.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees26

A bee sucking up honey.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees27

On a bee’s wax frame, the bees in the brood cells (the place where eggs are laid and the larvae raised). You can clearly see the honey covered by wax.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees28B

A beekeeper drawing out from a hive a wax frame covered with bees.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees29

A bee sucks up a drop of honey.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees30

Jean Paucton in the Parc de la Villette puts a swarm of bees into hives to populate his apiary.
“I started by setting up hives near Guéret in the Creuse. Since, agriculture has changed. At the time there was a great diversity, they planted clover, they made hay, all the farmers had hives. Since, the hedges have disappeared, like the farmers. There was a guy in the area who knew a bit more than the others, who came to harvest and take care of the hives. Some people were scared stiff of their bees which were of a local breed. I started that way, I had two, four, then ten, then twelve. I had practically nothing to do, it worked very well, I came a few weekends each year, the bees had enough to eat. Then the hedges disappeared, the sides of the roads are now treated with Round-up, a herbicide. The pivoting point came in 1994 when the fields of sunflower and rape appeared. Monoculture established itself with the death of the old farmers. The young have taken over the farms and have started treating. The hives weakened and a whole farming tradition has disappeared.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees31

Progression of a bee egg to the larva stage then the pupa lacking any pigmentation up to the final stage before birth when the future bee takes on its pigment.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees32

In Montreuil, Alain Llobregat, 41 years old, photographer and decorator, beekeeper for 3 years now, and his master in apiculture, his neighbor Jacques Linon, 69 years old. Their gardens are next to each other; a small fence crossed by a ladder separates them. Chance often comes into play in the introduction to beekeeping. Here, it’s a case of passing on the knowledge, which started with a hive recuperated by Jacques and which Alain agreed to set up on the roof of his workshop. Since then, they work together on the big jobs, the harvests, the treatments. Jacques has two and a half hives; it’s beautiful to see. The previous year, he produced 30 kilos per hive. “It’s a passion, because I don’t sell the honey, I give it away,” says Alain. “It’s a very fragrant, fruity honey, a true delight. When we are with the bees, we have to free our minds, we can’t be thinking of other things.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees33

In Montreuil, Alain Llobregat, 41 years old, photographer and decorator, beekeeper for 3 years now, and his master in apiculture, his neighbor Jacques Linon, 69 years old. Their gardens are next to each other; a small fence crossed by a ladder separates them. Chance often comes into play in the introduction to beekeeping. Here, it’s a case of passing on the knowledge, which started with a hive recuperated by Jacques and which Alain agreed to set up on the roof of his workshop. Since then, they work together on the big jobs, the harvests, the treatments. Jacques has two and a half hives; it’s beautiful to see. The previous year, he produced 30 kilos per hive. “It’s a passion, because I don’t sell the honey, I give it away,” says Alain. “It’s a very fragrant, fruity honey, a true delight. When we are with the bees, we have to free our minds, we can’t be thinking of other things.”

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees34

Hervé Robert- Garouel, 53 years old, in the apiary he takes care of in the arena of Nanterre. Painter, Hervé began beekeeping in 2003. Also a monitor of undersea diving and biology, he was looking for a second passion. After courses in amateur beekeeping at the SCA, he set up an apiary in the Eure Valley and takes care of several hives, like those of Nanterre. The apiary of the Ferme du Bonheur farm has as its mission to be an activity-orientated support and produce honey, the sale of which will help finance the association. A project for an educational apiary is in the works.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees35

Hervé Robert- Garouel, 53 years old, in the apiary he takes care of in the arena of Nanterre. Painter, Hervé began beekeeping in 2003. Also a monitor of undersea diving and biology, he was looking for a second passion. After courses in amateur beekeeping at the SCA, he set up an apiary in the Eure Valley and takes care of several hives, like those of Nanterre. The apiary of the Ferme du Bonheur farm has as its mission to be an activity-orientated support and produce honey, the sale of which will help finance the association. A project for an educational apiary is in the works.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees36

Jean Paucton in the Parc de la Villette, the bees fly about all over the place.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees37

A bee gorges itself with honey on a wax frame with cells full of nectar.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees38

In Jean Paucton’s workshop in Coignière, the most famous beekeeper in the world presents his exceptional honey. A 125g jar can be bought at Fauchon for 15€. One of the most original souvenirs of Paris you can get.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees39

Manual cutting of the labels for the most expensive honey in the world, that of the Paris Opera house. And, paradoxically, one of the most traditional.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees39b

Manual cutting of the labels for the most expensive honey in the world, that of the Paris Opera house. And, paradoxically, one of the most traditional.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees40

A jar of honey from the Opera garnier.
“When I went up onto the roof one week after setting up my first hive, it was a veritable honey house,” remembers Jean Paucton. “Honey was dripping everywhere! It was a very flavorful honey, with notes of lemon and mint. This is not at all an ordinary honey, like that from rape or sunflower”.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees41

May 6, 2009, inauguration of the hive on the terrace of the headquarters of Louis Vuitton, near the Pont Neuf bridge, in the presence of Yves Carcelle, CEO of Louis Vuitton. According to Nicolas Géant, originator of this step, “the Sustainable Develpoment services of the group LVMH was seduced by the project. They want to make it a showcase, in-house at first. My idea is to work with companies committed to sustainable development. I remain the owner of the hives and I offer to mount a project based on bees”.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees42

May 6, 2009, inauguration of the hive on the terrace of the headquarters of Louis Vuitton, near the Pont Neuf bridge, in the presence of Yves Carcelle, CEO of Louis Vuitton. According to Nicolas Géant, originator of this step, “the Sustainable Develpoment services of the group LVMH was seduced by the project. They want to make it a showcase, in-house at first. My idea is to work with companies committed to sustainable development. I remain the owner of the hives and I offer to mount a project based on bees”.

bees © Éric Tourneret

 

Paris’s Bees043

Sacha Lebrero. After university studies in mathematics, Sacha worked in computing. He only stayed with Ernst &Young for a few months: “it wasn’t for me, so I decided to go into a more human field and I worked for a few years on social issues”. In 2006, after noting that 40% of his time was spent in administrative work, he decided to move on to other things. During a solo bike tour of France, he met farmers and a beekeeper who initiated him in the field. “In the morning, I saw deer, boars, it was magical”. In 2008, he started professional training in apiculture in Poitiers. “I already have 30 hives in Limoges, plus those in the Paris region, 40 in all. I have become partner with a beekeeper who would like to retire.”