Some 180,000 bees that lived inside the hives atop Notre Dame Cathedral have survived the destructive fire that ripped through the 850-year-old structure earlier this week.
An Instagram photo posted Thursday showed a cluster of bees draped along the neck of one of the cathedral's gargoyles.
"Our bees from the Cathedral Notre-Dame De Paris are still alive!!" Cathedral Notre Dame wrote in French on Instagram. "Confirmation from the site's officials!! Our lady's bees are still alive!"
On Tuesday, Beeopic, an urban beekeeper in Paris, shared a drone photo that showed that the three hives had remarkably survived the inferno that collapsed most of the cathedral's roof.
"An ounce of hope!" an Instagram post in French read. "The photos taken by different drones show that the three hives are still in place…and obviously intact!"
What did the beekeeper say?
The cathedral's beekeeper Nicholas Géant was thrilled to hear the news.
"The bees are alive. Until this morning, I had had no news," Géant told Agence France-Presse.
But the beekeeper had not given up hope even before learning Thursday's news.
"There are about 60,000 bees per hive, and we have three of them," Géant told Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week. "I think and I hope the bees survived….There has been a great relationship between church and bees for centuries. Many churchmen influenced modern beekeeping like Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey in England."
He told AFP that the type of bees that live in the cathedral's hives won't abandon their hive and the queen bee.
Each hive reportedly produces about 55 pounds of honey which are sold to cathedral staff members, AFP reported.
The hives were placed on top of a sacristry that adjoins the cathedral in 2013 as part of a biodiversity project in Paris, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.