Eighteen years ago on a whim, Opera de Garnier prop assistant Â Jean Paucton studied beekeeping at Paris’s Jardin du Luxembourg. He bought a hive and had every intention to take it to his country home, 45 minutes out of the French capital.
But the opera house’s fireman – who had been raising trout in the building’s underground reservoir (the inspiration for the subterranean lake in Phantom of the Opera) – suggested he put the hives on the roof where the bees wouldn’t bother anyone.
Two weeks later, he returned to find the hive full of honey. The bees were thriving. Now he keeps five hives atop Paris’s opera house and sells the honey in the gift shop.
Since, a few fellow Parisian beekeepers have followed suit. Nicolas GÃ©ant set up hives on the roof of the Grand Palais and the terrace of the Louis Vuitton headquarters, and Pastor Pernot atop his church,Â lâ€™Eglise ReformÃ©e de lâ€™Etoile.