Wednesday, October 01, 2008

La fable des abeilles

Who says they don't have a word for 'entrepreneur':
Corinne Moncelli offers guests at her Eiffel Park Hotel more than a view of the Paris landmark. She serves them honey from bees she keeps on the rooftop.

There are more than 300 known colonies in the French capital, up from about 250 five years ago, according to the National Beekeepers' Association. Hives have appeared on the roof of the Opéra Garnier, on balconies and in parks.

Bees are thriving in cities because "flowers and plants are changed constantly and there aren't pesticides," said Moncelli, who co-owns the hotel with her husband, Pascal.

....Jean Paucton, who has kept bees on the roof of Paris's opera house for about 25 years, has seen that rural decline first hand. The retired opera house accessory artist said that the hives, which overlook the Galeries Lafayette department store in central Paris, are healthier than the ones he keeps in the country.

Paucton's city hives produce 450 kilograms of honey a year. He sells little jars of it to the opera house gift shop for about €4, which are resold for €14.50. Paucton, 75, said losses in the countryside can be as much as 50 percent, while the number in the city doesn't even approach 5 percent. Some years, he doesn't lose any in the city, he said.

"The harvest is worse and worse in the countryside," he said. "There aren't farmers anymore. There are only agricultural companies and they use pesticides."

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