Just when everyone was getting their heads around the architectural and cultural tragedy of the burning of Notre Dame, we have something else to contend with: there was apparently a beekeeping operation on the roof?? Thousands of bees up there?? Why weren’t we told??
A report by NBC News reports that the beekeeper of Notre Dame is currently awaiting any news about what has happened to his precious bees who lived atop the church. He is personally of the belief that they survived.
“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,” 51-year-old Nicolas Géant told NBC News.
But, he says, he has absolutely no way of confirming that. “The policemen and firemen won’t let me go up there.”
NBC reports that Géant was responsible for 18,000 bees, but other reports – like this one from The Sun – suggest that the total colony up there is 150,000 bees spread over three hives. Géant is a director of Beeopic, a company which manages a number of hives across Paris.
Regardless of the total number, a fact is certain: bees.
“Smoke, heat, water… we will see if our brave bees are still with us as soon as we have access to the area,” Beeopic said in a statement.
The official Notre Dame website says that the bees are kept as part of a conservation project:
Notre Dame de Paris, which houses this hive, is completely associated with the preservation of dynamic biodiversity and wishes to remember the beauty of Creation and the responsibility of man with respect to it.
Can I also just draw your attention to this part of the NBC interview with Géant himself (emphasis mine):
The bee-enthusiast said it had always been his dream to keep bees on the roof of “the most beautiful church in the world” and in 2012 that dream came true.
“There is a historic relationship between bees and the church, for a long time they used the wax from the bees to make the candles,” he explained.
That, my friends, is proof that no matter how weird (and maybe even a little unsettling) your dream is, you can make it happen. Powerful.