Last week, when a horrendous fire ravaged the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, 180,000 lives were saved in what some are calling a miracle.
Among the things saved from the fire are at least one of the rose windows, many of the statues (which had been removed in the days before the fire because of ongoing renovation projects), a number of historical and religious artifacts … and three beehives.
Notre Dame Cathedral has been home to three beehives since 2013. The hives are located on the first floor on a roof over the sacristy just beneath the rose window. Each hive housed approximately 60,000 bees.
Notre Dame’s beekeeper, Nicolas Geant (shown here), was thrilled to report the bees’ well-being.
“I got a call from Andre Finot, the spokesman for Notre Dame, who said there were bees flying in and out of the hives which means they are still alive!” Geant said to CNN. “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. Now I know there’s activity it’s a huge relief!”
So how exactly did these bees survive such a devastating blaze?
According to Geant, the hives were untouched by the fire because they are located 30 meters below the main roof, which is where the fire spread.
There are over 300 working beehives currently placed around Paris to increase biodiversity. The Notre Dame beehives consist of Buckfast bees, which were developed in the 1920s by a Benedictine monk. The cathedral’s general manager requested the installation of the hives to promote the protection and awareness of the species.
“I was incredibly sad about Notre Dame because it’s such a beautiful building, and as a Catholic it means a lot to me,” said Geant. “But to hear there is life when it comes to the bees, that’s just wonderful. I was overjoyed.”
He added, “Thank goodness the flames didn’t touch them. It’s a miracle!”