The Bees of Notre Dame
Did you know that nearly 150,000 bees were housed in hives on the roof of the cathedral as part of a special conservation project by Beeopic, whose goal is to encourage urban beekeeping in Paris?
Currently the fate of the bees is unknown, but drone footage has revealed the hives themselves are miraculously still intact, so we hope the bees sensed the intensifying heat and saved themselves from the inferno.
As the world mourns the loss of Notre Dame Cathedral, we reflect deeper meaning and a storied past where bees contributed to life at the Cathedral for centuries. As a major tourist attraction, the Cathedral was a beacon that spoke to the hearts of people of every faith and culture, not just Catholics or Europeans. Considered by many a universal representation of love, acceptance and solace, as well as an architectural gem, we have lost so much more than an ancient landmark, as the world weeps.
Amidst the global media focus, we’ve been reminded of an inspiring bond between the cathedral and bees.
Did you know that bees were kept at the cathedral over the centuries, and their beeswax was used to make candles? Anyone familiar with the ritual of lighting a candle as you beseech the Divine to grant your prayers will know the sacredness of this bond between the cathedral, the bees and humanity.
We are also following another bee-related story tied in with the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Known as the Beekeeper of Notre Dame, Nicolas Géant is anxious to know if his 18,000 bees survived the cathedral fire. All his life he dreamed of keeping bees on the roof of “the most beautiful church in the world” and his wish came true in 2012. He has seen drone footage that indicates the hives on the roof survived, but did his bees survive too? It is too soon to know, so he waits in hope. He reminds us of the ancient and longstanding relationship between the cathedral and bees.
We’ll share any updates we find about the fate of these bees. Meanwhile, let’s embrace the ancient and enduring bond of bees and humanity, and continue to educate people about the importance of these fuzzy little pollinators and what a gift they are to us all.