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French "Spiderman" climbs skyscraper to save crumbling Notre-Dame cathedral

2019-03-25 18:51
Dubbed the "French Spiderman", Alain Robert scaled a skyscraper in Paris on Monday (March 25) without a harness to raise funds for the renovation of Notre-Dame cathedral. The 56-year-old was seen using horizontal struts running up the Engie headquarters' curved facade and a protruding structure going top-to-bottom of the 185-metre (607 feet) glass-fronted building in La Defense business district. Robert halted regularly to chalk his hands. Before the climb, he said he wanted to give a helping hand for the renovation of the cathedral and hoped others would do too. His sponsors were writing a cheque of 5,000 euros ($5,650) to help finance the renovations, he added. During the stunt, bystanders at the bottom pointed smartphones towards clear blue skies as wispy clouds raced overheard in blustery winds. The Archbishop of Paris is on a drive to raise more than 100 million euros to save Notre-Dame's crumbling gargoyles and gothic arches. Every year 12-14 million people visit the 12th century Parisian landmark on an island in the Seine river. Building began around 850 years ago, but pollution and the passing of time have chipped off large chunks of stone. Robert was arrested shortly after completing the climb. He has climbed more than 100 structures including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Burj al Khalifa in Dubai, as well as the same tower in Paris in 2016. Notre-Dame has long drawn tourists from around the world. It is most famous in popular culture as the locale for 19th century author Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame", and films of the same name including the 1939 classic with Charles Laughton and the 1996 Disney musical animation.