Enthusiasts have been beekeeping in Paris for an awfully long time. The hives at the Jardin du Luxembourg, for example, were installed in 1856, and they’re still going strong. Over the decades, they’ve sprung up on the rooftops of some of the city’s most iconic buildings – the Opéra Garnier, the Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides – as well as those of some of the city’s keenest residents. As its popularity as a pastime has grown, so too, naturally, has the volume of honey produced by our Parisian bees each year. Like all the best things to which we can treat our tummies, this liquid gold doesn’t travel far from the hive to the shelf in Paris – we’ve listed here nine shops where you can try it for yourself.
La Maison du Miel
Deli, French, $$$
Founded in 1898, La Maison du Miel is the oldest honey specialist around, stocking dozens of varieties from across Paris, France, and the world. Some of the most prized honey in the store is that made with acacia, chestnut, and lavender, but you can help yourself to some samples in order to find the perfect one for you. Also, don’t forget to look down from the amber-colored shelves and check out the cute bee-themed tiling on the floor. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30am – 7:00pm.
By far the bulk of the stock at Tnature is, as the name might have suggested, tea. However, among the 300 or so different types of teas and infusions in this 6th arrondissement specialty store is a nice selection of artisanal honey with various wild flower flavors.
Down in the 13th arrondissement, not too far from the Place d’Italie, Les Abeilles has a great range of honey – much of which has been produced in Paris or Île de France – and also stocks all the equipment needed to do some beekeeping of your own. Some of the house specialties to take home and try include honey mustard and vinegar. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00am – 7:00pm.
There aren’t many foodie experiences in Paris that can compete with a trip to La Grande Épicerie, located in the world’s first department store, Le Bon Marché. Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut transformed their Left Bank stall into a store in 1852, the first food counter came 71 years later, and in 1978 the sensational food hall that we know and love today was born. It’s a luxury supermarket with a local feel, and the honey collection is just one of its sparkling highlights. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30am –9:00pm.
Best known, perhaps, for its chocolates and macarons, Fauchon carries a number of its own honey recipes as well as some from local producers. The gourmet delicatessen, which stocks everything from foie gras and caviar to wine and tea, was founded in 1886 and has since grown into one of the most respected brands in the French food industry. Open Monday to Saturday, 10:00am – 8:30pm.
The two shopping floors at the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet are absolutely vast, and the selection of foods – local and international – is truly mind-boggling. There is no doubt that you’ll be able to pick up some wonderful honey as well as a basketful (or maybe a trolleyful) of other tasty treats. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30am – 9:30pm.
Though it would be a shame to visit the Musée d’Orsay exclusively for the gift shop and not see any of the magnificent impressionist art contained within its walls –in fact, just don’t do this, take a look around first! – you can find, alongside the postcards and coffee table books, a selection of honey that is actually sourced from hives on the roof of the museum. It doesn’t get more locally produced than that! Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30am – 6:30pm. Late night opening on Thursday until 9:15pm.
It might seem surprising that a trendy bookstore flanking Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement would stock honey, but Artazet is a big supporter of urban beekeeping. All the liquid gold on offer is made in Paris and, as such, is free of harmful pesticides. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the air pollution in the city doesn’t impact bees nearly as much as the harmful substances found throughout the countryside. Open Monday to Friday, 10:30am – 7:30pm, Saturday, 11:00am – 7:30pm, and Sunday, 1:30pm – 7:30pm.
The Bois de Boulogne is one of the largest sites of urban beekeeping in the city – almost half a million bees call this place home –and the produce of this hard labor is sold at the boutique of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the small zoo and fairground contained within the park. The project has been running since 2011, and the amount of honey produced has increased with each passing year. After the long summer we’ve had, 2016 should be a bumper harvest. Good news for all you honey lovers out there! Open Monday to Friday, 10:00am – 6:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am – 7:00pm.