One of the coolest missions of the tourist office is to test the region's artisans for you. And the new address that we would like to share with you is the Miellerie de l’Oratoire. Lovers of liquid gold and curious about local crafts, get ready to discover a little Varois candy!
The honey house of the oratory: a dive into Provence
It is in Sainte-Anne du Castellet, lost in the middle of the domains ofBandol appellation, what is located the Honey House of the Oratory. In this green setting, Virginie and Olivier welcome you all year round to share their hive products with you. This amazing duo wears several hats: cosmetics creator, pastry chef and guide for one and beekeeper for the other.
After about twenty minutes by car from Bandol on a road lined with vineyards, we finally arrived there. Our mission: to test the visit offered by the honey house for you, to learn more about beekeeping and above all, to experience the tasting!
visit, explanations and discovery of the Var hive
First of all, the visit started outside with the educational hive. Virginie explained to us the structure of a hive, the principle of frames and how their beekeeping operation works. The family has around a hundred hives spread around the honey house, in South Sainte-Baume. These are transhumed in various parts of the region depending on the seasons and flowering periods. The best-known example being the Valensole plateau and its lavender fields which bloom at the start of summer to become the favorite playground for thousands of bees.
Then, we headed towards the small house dedicated to the honey house. There, a hive “open” thanks to a window principle, awaited us. We observed the behavior of the bees and discovered, among other things, that each bee has a well-defined role depending on its age.
Once the hive is in place and the bees have done their job, it is time to harvest. We were able to witness the entire process of extracting the honey from the frames through to potting. All this, always with a lot of teaching and kindness from Virginie.
The honeybee hive products store
The end of the visit is in the most interesting place of the honey house: the shop. Here, pots of honey of all kinds (fir, all flowers, chestnut, etc.), homemade pastries and beeswax-based cosmetics proudly sit on the shelves. We highly recommend the gingerbread, absolutely delicious, and their caramels, simply incredible! Some of us have obviously given in for honey, lip balms or even pollen, known for its immune benefits.
In short, this shop is a reflection of the honey industry and its artisans: generous and local with, in addition, a good dose of delicacy. A honey paradise waiting for you!
How to book/get to the oratory honey house
Guided tours are organized all year round and are accessible to all ages. These range from the classic discovery of honey making to the complete presentation of the beekeeper's profession, including lip balm making workshops. To learn more about these activities, click here:
Furthermore, if you are just looking for a place where to buy good local honey around Bandol, produced with love and know-how, you can also go to the honey shop (20 minutes by car from Bandol):
Honey house of the Oratory
987 chemin de l’Estagnol
Sainte-Anne du Castellet
83330 Le Castellet
Finally, for those who want to test these hive products, but are unfortunately not nearby, good news, an online store is available:
A big thank you to Virginie and Olivier for this unique experience. Go for it, you certainly won't regret it!