©Marina Geray



Since the start of this year, the ‘Ruchers de l’Ibie’ have been offering introductory beekeeping courses at the apiary in Lagorce. Immerse yourself in the secret world of bees with Sébastien Gayet.

‘Welcome to the Ruchers de l’Ibie’

The welcome is warm. Élodie and Nicolas Leullier moved to the Gourguet estate in Lagorce 5 years ago. Tastefully restored with great care, this magnificent old farmhouse is a haven of peace in the heart of nature.

“We’ve been beekeepers for nearly 15 years, first in Saint-Alban-Auriolles and now in Lagorce. We have 450 operating colonies of bees. We move our hives to follow the flowering season and offer different types of Ardèche honey. Depending on the weather conditions, we harvest chestnut, lavender, white heather, raspberry, acacia, garrigue, flower and mountain honey from the Ardèche plateau”.

As well as tours of the honey house, since the start of this year, Élodie and Nicolas have been offering beekeeping introductory courses “to help people find out more about our profession, our way of working, our passion and, above all, the private lives of bees”.

With the presentation over, Élodie suggested we get kitted out. It took us a few minutes to put on the professional bee suit, the beekeeper’s veil and the gloves.

©Marina Geray
P1355179©Marina Geray

Hard-working Buckfast bees with no aggression

We’re ready for some loud buzzing! “Bees may land on you, but don’t worry – you’re well protected!” reassures Élodie. “Our bees are Buckfast, a calm, non-aggressive variety, and you’ll see that they’re only concerned with their work.”

When we reach the training apiary, Élodie opens the first hive. The buzzing is impressive, but none of the thousands of bees show the slightest sign of aggression!

With great educational skill, the beekeeper explains what goes on behind the scenes in the hive, its composition and the bees’ different tasks. “There are foragers, cleaners, feeders, builders, guards, scouts and, of course, the queen. Apart from the queen, a bee occupies all the positions essential to the organisation of the hive throughout its life.”

To avoid disturbing the bees for too long, Élodie changes from one hive to another. She discusses the formation of swarms from producing hives and the rearing of queens, some of which are destined to be sold. There’s also a surprise in the form of drones. It will appeal to the very young…

The two hours go too quickly. This introduction into the fascinating world of bees can be extended with the superb exhibition ‘Le génie des abeilles’ (The genius of bees) by the famous photographer Éric Tourneret, based in Ardèche in the Eyrieux valley.

P1355344©Marina Geray
©Marina Geray


An introduction to beekeeping. Duration: 2 hrs.

Find out about the private lives of bees and the incredible organisation of the hive, which is home to thousands of bees.

Professional bee suit and protective equipment provided. Booking is essential.

From 7 years.




La ferme des abeilles

Elodie et Nicolas Leullier

Domaine de Gourguet

390 chemin de Lacesses

07150 Lagorce

+33(0)6 86 72 45 11



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