Some 180,000 bees kept in in hives on Notre Dame’s lead roof have been discovered alive despite the destructive blaze at the Paris cathedral.
“I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral,” Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper, told reporters.
Mr Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.
Mr Geant said the carbon dioxide in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state instead of killing them – adding that when bees sense fire they “gorge themselves on honey” and protect their queen.
European bees never abandon their hives, he said.