More than 200,000 bees living on Notre Dame’s roof survived the fire that swallowed the heritage landmark, said their beekeeper.
Nicolas Geant, the person keeping the beehives on top of the sacristy that adjoins the cathedral for years, said the precious insects were still flying in and out of their hives this morning.
A blaze raged through the cathedral for over 12 hours last week, destroying its spire and most of its ornate centuries-old roof.
Geant was happy to announce the insects were still alive. “Until this morning, I had had no news,” he expressed.
“It first I thought that the three hives had burned but I had no information after Monday’s fire.
“Then I saw from satellite images that this was not the case and then the cathedral spokesman told me that they were going in and out of the hives.”
He also said that he was overwhelmed by calls of support from all over the world.
The beekeeper said that the kind of bee, a variety bred by Benedictine monk Brother Adam around a hundred years ago, doesn’t abandon its give no matter what happens. They gorge on honey and refuse to leave their queen bee.
Every hive at Notre-Dame produces an average of 25 kilograms of honey each year. The items are sold to Notre-Dame staff.
“If you look at the photos from the sky, you see that everything is burnt, there are holes in the roof, but you can still see the three beehives,” he told NBC News.
The hives were installed on Notre Dame’s roof 6 years ago as part of a biodiversity project that placed colonies across the city.
“The pictures taken by different drones show that the 3 hives are still in place… and obviously intact!,” Beeopic, the company that maintains the hives, wrote on Instagram.
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