The Bees of Notre-Dame

The Bees of Notre-Dame
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
October 17, 2023
Buy This Book
This lyrical, poignant nonfiction picture book tells the fascinating story of the honeybee colonies that lived on the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and survived the devastating 2019 fire.

High above the bustling streets and gardens of Paris is a little-known wonder: a cluster of beehives. They sit atop the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral, lovingly tended to by a beekeeper named Sibyle. But when fire broke out in the catherdral in 2019, the bees almost didn’t make it. Firefighters battled heat and smoke, carefully spraying their hoses around the hives, pumping in water from fireboats on the Seine, and, miraculously, they survived.

Meghan P. Browne and E. B. Goodale imbue the story of Notre-Dame’s bees and the fire that almost killed them with great hope. After the fire, there is rebuilding to be done, but with hard work and collaboration, perhaps the cathedral can be restored after all. From the rooftops of Paris to the intricacies of a beehive, here is a moving picture book about resilience in the face of disaster.

Editor review

1 review
Bees and Their importance
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
Not many people knew, but at one time, bees lived atop the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. After the devastating fire of 2019, the bees were moved for their safety. During the fire, the workers who tended the bees watched in fear as the cathedral burned. They feared for the bees because there's no way to know how they were faring on the rooftop. When it was deemed safe, the workers went in and, to their surprise, found them unharmed.

THE BEES OF NOTRE-DAME gives us insight to a piece of history that could have easily been lost. Looking upon Notre Dame, nobody would imagine bees sitting on the roof. Bees are important to the health of the gardens in Paris and the bee-tenders know this. They joy they felt once discovering the bees were safe is palpable even through the pages. It's fascinating to learn of this story and it also spreads awareness of how important bees are. They are the universal pollinators and without them, nature would struggle to grow. The illustrations are a blocky watercolor with dulled coloring except in regards to the gardens and the fire.

Final Verdict: Overall, this is a very interesting historical story that young fans of history and nature will enjoy. As an adult, I'm thankful the author shared this information with us because it reminds us to look for the victories when in the face of disaster.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account