French beekeeper tries to restore Paris as a humming city
2018-07-12 16:24:00

Guy-Noel Javaudin has been keeping bees for 30 years – during that period, he has seen the number of beekeepers in France coming down from over 17,000 to around 2,000.

“In the 1980s, the sector really started to die out,” he told CGTN, “and it’s never recovered. It’s really a shame, because France could produce a colossal amount of honey.”

Like many beekeepers, he blames the excessive use of pesticides by farmers, and also a lack of biodiversity in the countryside caused by crop monocultures, which mean hedgerows that once housed hundreds of species of plants that help bees thrive, have been disappearing from the landscape.

Last winter has been particularly harsh for French beekeepers, as about 60 percent of bee colonies across the country died off, partly due to a harsh spring.

The honeybee has found an unexpected refuge, though – in central Paris.

A photo taken on June 26, 2018 from the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral shows a general view of the Seine River and its surroundings in central Paris. /VCG Photo

“In the country, we have agricultural monocultures and pesticides, and here we have air pollution,” Javaudin explained, “but bees can adapt to that.”

Tests show there is almost no trace of air pollution in urban honey, and one made from bees living on the roof of the Paris Opera was named the best honey in France last year.

Javaudin is responsible for a number of urban hives, including those in the garden of the French prime minister’s residence, and he said their honey has an exceptional taste, thanks to the variety of flowering plants in the city.

Source: CGTN Editor: Hiram