Daredevil Known as the French Spiderman Scales 613-Foot Tower in Paris Protest

by Suzanne Halliburton

Alain Robert, known worldwide as the French Spiderman, climbed a Parisian tower this week to protest a health passport.

Climbing tall buildings with no equipment and no permission is something Robert does frequently. It’s why his fans dubbed him French Spiderman years ago. The 59-year-old has more than 100 climbs to his credit. But he usually scales structures like the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building solo. He shifted from rock climbing to focus on urban towers back in the 1990s.

This week, three younger climbers joined Robert to scale the Total Coupole tower building in the La Défense district. The 613-foot tall building is on the outskirts of Paris.

The climbers were protesting the French Health Pass for COVID-19. The pass is required. It shows whether you’ve been vaccinated or recently had a negative test for COVID-19 or whether you’ve recovered from an infection. The pass is needed to go to bars and restaurants, visit museums and attend big, public events. Plus, in France, you need the pass to use public transport for long-distance travel.

Reuters posted a video clip of Robert’s climb. The international news service tweeted:

“Alain Robert, known as the ‘French Spiderman,’ climbed a skyscraper in the company of three other climbers in Paris’ business district of La Defense.”

Police Allowed French Spiderman To Climb For About an Hour

Police shut down the French Spiderman after about an hour of climbing. They’re used to doing so. It’s the 11th time Robert has tried to climb this specific building.

“It’s a climb against the health pass, which annoys everyone. It is an attack on fundamental freedoms, this pass is a disgrace,” Alain Robert said.

Thousands of people have protested the health pass each weekend since it was instituted in August. The French newspaper Ouest France reported that more than 141,000 people participated in Saturday’s protest across the country. However, the number of protesters is starting to decline.

Robert also said he dedicated his climb to the memory of actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, an actor who died this week.

This isn’t the first time French Spiderman protested COVID mandates.

In March 2020, just when the COVID quarantine began, he climbed to the top of Agbar Tower in Barcelona. He said he wanted to protest the “fear” of COVID.

In an interview with Forbes, he said he wanted to conquer the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. His first urban climb was Chicago’s 588-foot Citicorp Center skyscraper. He’s small and compactly built at 5-foot-4 and 114 pounds, so he can truly scurry up any urban structure. He definitely earned the French Spiderman nickname.

“It is validating what I am doing,” Robert told Forbes. “Because it inspires people around the world to confront their fears. I was afraid of heights as a child.”