French 'Spiderman' Climbs Paris Skyscraper

Spiderman has struck again.

Daredevil French climber and urban sherpa Alain Robert added one of France's tallest office towers to his tally on Tuesday before scaling back down into the arms of the waiting police.

Robert, who has gained fame — and notoriety — for scaling some of the world's tallest skyscrapers without permission, climbed the 627-foot tall TotalFinaElf building in Paris before being apprehended by the city police.

Using his bare hands and dispensing with safety lines, Robert took about 90 minutes to reach the top of the headquarters of the oil corporation TotalFinaElf in the city's crowded La Defense business district.

"It was a little more difficult than I'd expected because of the wind, because of the sun," Robert told Reuters after his vertiginous conquest. "Sometimes it was a bit slippery," he said, adding the windows had just been washed.

The Long Arm of the Law

The crowd which gathered to watch the man, who is sometimes called the French Daddy-long-legs, may have unwittingly tipped police to what was going on.

Although Robert has courted arrest several times in the course of his urban climbing career, the French police are known to be a lot more sympathetic towards the local Spiderman than police in many parts of the world.

Robert was apprehended on Tuesday, but not charged. According to local media reports, the police even offered him orange juice.

The law has not always been so good to Robert. In March, Chinese authorities denied him permission to climb the 88-story Jinmau building in Shanghai.

The feat was later achieved by a 31-year-old Chinese farmer who was later arrested for his impromptu adventure.

In November last year, Singapore's police arrested Robert for attempting to scale the 920-foot Overseas Union Bank tower. And in April 1998, Parisian police arrested the stuntman after he scampered up the Egyptian Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and cheekily made a call on his cell phone from the top.

A mountaineer by training, Robert's first urban feat took place in his hometown of Valence, when the then-12-year-old scampered up to enter his family's eighth-floor apartment after losing his keys.

Now 39, his conquests have included the Sears Towers, the Empire State building, the Eiffel Tower and the world's highest skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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