The Eiffel Tower is well known for its romance, structural brilliance and as an icon for the city of Paris. What many don’t know however is that the tower has also been targeted by thrill seekers and death defying performers since its early days for construction.
We start the list off with X-Games champion and world record holder Taig Khris. In 2010 he performed his daredevil record breaking drop from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.
He currently holds the world record for a 12.5 meter free fall before landing on a ramp stationed beneath the Eiffel Tower. Surrounded by Media and screaming fans, the ramp which he landed on after his initial 12.5m drop was a whopping 30m tall.
The previous record was an 8.53 meter drop which was held by American Danny Way. Taig Khris was quoted to have performed the jump in order “to give people the desire to reach beyond their limits, follow their passion and their dreams”.
If you notice in the video below, Khris slides a long way after the initial drop. The rules for a successful world record state that he must stay on his wheels for half the length of the ramp. He then slides the rest of the way to prevent injury.
In related fashion Khris holds the world record for longest jump on roller blades which was also performed in Paris on the stairs beneath the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
2. 1912 Parachute Death Caught On Video (Warning: May Be Distressing To Some Viewers)
Franz Reichelt was a fellow Australian born expat living in France and performing his trade as a Taylor. He unfortunately died in 1912 during one of his test pioneering in the field of parachuting when he jumped from the first floor of the Eiffel tower.
Also known as the “Flying Taylor” his death was caught on camera when his attempt to create a wearable parachute suite failed. Previous attempts of the suite had been successful using dummise from his 5th story apartment. unfortunately he was unable to replicate this success with human subjects.
Please be aware that he does die in the video below and that it may be distressing or offend some viewers.
Rose Gold was a popular trapeze artist of her day, together with her husband and friend took their aerial act to new heights. The three aerialists risk their lives performing flips, spins and drops all while dangling from the Eiffel Tower.
The stunt was performed to celebrate the 2000th year anniversary of Paris. As you will see in the video, even the camera man takes risks by filming on the ledge without so much as a harness.
4. Base Jumping Stunts
Throughout the years base jumping from the Eiffel Tower has become a forbidden fruit for many of the sports enthusiasts. The majority of jumps from the tower have been illegal and on one occasion has led to the death of a 31 year old Norwegian Man after his shoot failed to properly open.
On a more positive note, in 1984 a British couple celebrated their anniversary by completing a base jump from the tower. The couple was reported to have survived the leap from the top deck of the tower.
5. Jackie Chan – Rush Hour 3
Jackie Chan is well known for performing his own stunt and in his 2007 action hit of “Rush Hour 3”. Some say he may have taken it a step to far but that’s not what Jackie thinks. At age 53 he and a number of other professional stunt men performed an epic fight scene on the pillars of the Eiffel Tower without so much as a safety net.
Jackie was quoted as saying that “the experience was something that they will never forget”.
6. Green Peace Activist
In 2013 a Green Peace activist staged a protest which saw him suspended in a tent from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. He was protesting the captivity of the 30 environmental lobbyist‘s held in the Russian prison system.
During the week of the protest president Putin and President Sarkozy had schedualed a meeting to talk about international issues. The protest was a bid to have the discussion raised about the freedom of the 30 imprisoned lobbyists.
During his stunt he lowered a banner which said “Free the Arctic 30” and “Militants in prison, climate in danger”. His protest forced authorities to close the monument for a short time however he was brought down by firemen after 2 hours without restraint.
7. Bonanza Plane Fly’s Under the Eiffel Tower
Over the years there have been a few people who have flown beneath the Eiffel Tower however in this instance we have footage of the moment that Robert J. Moriarty completed the task.
In 1984 at 11:20am on the 31st of March, Moriarty flew his Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft threw the 4 pillars of the Eiffel Tower. This event was cleared by local officials and when asked why he did it, his reply was: “Just for fun”
Moriarty said it was quite easy and that in the past someone has flown through the pillars of the Arc de Tromphe which in comparison is a lot tighter as you can see in the video below.
8. Pierre Labric Rides Bike Down The Eiffel Tower
Pierre Labric is a popular French Organist, Composer and Pedagogue. He is also known for his decent form the 1st Floor of the Eiffel Tower riding his bicycle.
In 1923 for reasons that are unknown he decided to ride his bicycle down the stairs while also heavily populated with people. There is not much documentation on the event however these image were captured during his decent.
9. Philippe Petit Tight Rope Walk
Throughout his career as a tight rope walker, Philippe Petit has performed numerous death defying stunts in places such as the Sydney harbour bridge, the Twin Towers and many more. In 1989 Philippe walked a tight rope which stretched from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower to Paliais de Chaillot and totaled a 700m long walk.
Mayor Jacques Chirac invited Philippe to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French revolution by performing his tightrope walk for the citizens of Paris.