Bees on Notre Dame rooftop survive this week’s devastating fire

The bees of Notre Dame seem to have their patron saint Ambrose looking out for them. 

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The devastating fire that destroyed part of Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday appears to have spared the bees living on its rooftop.

Since 2013, as part of a city initiative to support biodiversity in Paris, Notre Dame has been home to three beehives on a roof beneath the rose window. Because the hives are located about 30 meters (98 feet) below the main roof, the fire didn’t get close enough to do any damage. 

Considering each hive is home to 60,000 bees, Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant was beyond relieved to learn the fire didn’t hurt the insects.

“I got a call from the spokesman for Notre Dame who said there were bees flying in and out of the hives which means they are still alive,” Geant told CNN on Friday. 

“Right after the fire I looked at the drone pictures and saw the hives weren’t burnt but there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived,” Geant added. “Now I know there’s activity, it’s a huge relief.”

On Wednesday, Geant posted photos on his Instagram taken by drones that show the hives intact.

Another photo posted on his Instagram shows the bees alive and well on one of the Notre Dame gargoyles. The structures  double as functional rain spouts.

Perhaps St. Ambrose, the patron saint of bees and beekeepers, was keeping an eye out for the beloved insects of Notre Dame.

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