French daredevil takes hair-raising tightrope walk

PARIS (AFP) – A French tightrope walker has crossed the Seine in Paris 70 metres up in a breathtaking feat watched by cheering crowds on the Eiffel Tower and along the riverbanks.

Attached by a strap to a safety lanyard, 27-year-old Nathan Paulin slowly progressed barefoot on a line stretched across the river between the Eiffel Tower and the Chaillot Theatre.

He stopped for a few breaks, sitting or lying on the rope.

“It wasn’t easy walking 600 metres, concentrating, with everything around, the pressure… but it was still beautiful,” he said after the performance.

He said obtaining the necessary authorisations had been a difficulty for him, plus “the stress linked to the audience, the fact that there are a lot of people”.

Paulin, holder of several world records, performed the feat to celebrate France’s annual Heritage Day – when people are invited to visit historic buildings and monuments that are usually closed to the public.

He said his motivation was “mainly to do something beautiful and to share it and also to bring a new perspective on heritage, it is to make heritage come alive”.

He had already crossed the River Seine on a tightrope, on Heritage Day in 2017.

French highliner Nathan Paulin performs on a 70-metre-high slackline spanning 670 metres between the Eiffel Tower and the Theatre National de Chaillot, as part of the 38th European Heritage Days and the launch of the Cultural Olympiad in Paris. PHOTO: AFP