How One French Candle Company Is Supporting Bee Conservation Efforts

This 400-year-old manufacturer built its business on beeswax — and now, it's giving back.

Cire Trudon candle and box

Courtesy of Cire Trudon

When you’ve been working with bees for nearly 400 years, you know a little something about the health of a hive. But when French candlemaker Trudon was founded, in 1643, the world’s bee population looked very different from the way it does today.

Trudon’s motto, deo regique laborant, translates to “they work for God and King” — "they," in this case, being the bees. In light of steadily declining numbers and increased incidence of colony collapse, the official candle supplier to Louis XIV at Versailles has decided to do some work in return. In 2018, Trudon began a partnership with the Orne Dark Bee Conservatory, an organization operating in Normandy (home of Trudon for more than a century) that is working to protect the European dark bee — one of the region's important pollinators. Both are headquartered within the Perche Regional Nature Park, a forested agricultural area that is also popular with tourists.

Headlining the partnership is Trudon's recently expanded Cire collection: hand-poured candles in three sizes featuring a spicy, musky fragrance with the unmistakable sweetness of honey. (The same scent is also available in a wax cameo, for use in a wax warmer or diffuser.) Four percent of Cire candle sales are donated directly to the Dark Bee Conservatory; in the coming months, Trudon will provide space within its Mortagne-au-Perche factory for the organization's offices, hive maintenance, and honey extraction.

It should be noted that the Cire products are not made from beeswax; Trudon has moved away from its original 17th-century medium in favor of sustainable plant-based formulations. But next time you light your candle, you'll know the manufacturer is doing what it can to care for its first employees.

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Catching a Buzz."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles