‘French Spiderman’ climbs Paris skyscraper harness-free

French climber Alain Robert, lower right, managed to scale the same skyscraper in La Defense business district in 2016. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019

‘French Spiderman’ climbs Paris skyscraper harness-free

  • Climb was done to help to raise funds for the renovation of Notre-Dame cathedral
  • Robert has climbed more than 100 structures including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Burj al Khalifa in Dubai

PARIS: Dubbed the “French Spiderman,” Alain Robert scaled a skyscraper in Paris on Friday without a harness to raise funds for the renovation of Notre-Dame cathedral.
Television images showed the 56-year-old using horizontal struts running up the Engie headquarters’ curved facade and a protruding structure going top-to-bottom of the 185-meter glass-fronted building in La Defense business district
Robert halted regularly to chalk his hands.
He was arrested shortly after completing the climb.
“Because there’s no money left in the government coffers, the cathedral is falling into disrepair,” he said ahead of the climb. His sponsors were writing a cheque of €5,000 ($5,650) to help finance the renovations, he added.
During the stunt, bystanders at the bottom pointed smartphones toward clear blue skies as wispy clouds raced overheard in blustery winds.
Robert 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.
The Archbishop of Paris is on a drive to raise more than €100 million to save Notre-Dame’s crumbling gargoyles and gothic arches.


Gilty pleasure: Vietnam opens world’s ‘first’ gold-plated hotel

Updated 03 July 2020

Gilty pleasure: Vietnam opens world’s ‘first’ gold-plated hotel

  • Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake cost $200 million to construct
  • Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic

HANOI: For guests at the “Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake” coffee comes in a gold cup and bath time is taken in gilded splendor.
The world’s first self-proclaimed gold-plated hotel is open for business — and the Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
The hotel cost $200 million to construct with a 24-carat plating across lobbies, an infinity pool and rooms with even cutlery, cups, shower heads and toilet seats receiving the golden treatment.
While expensive for Vietnam, at $250 a night it is not prohibitive for wealthy locals craving a few nights living like Donald Trump, the US President renowned for his love of all things that glitter.
The hotel wants “ordinary people to the super rich... to check-in” both physically and on social media, said Nguyen Huu Duong, chairman of Hoa Binh group that owns the hotel.


A gold-plated infinity pool overlooks the city, while meals at the 25-story hotel in downtown Hanoi may be mixed with a mysterious “gold substance,” according to the owners.
So far, the smattering of customers appears to be delighted with Hanoi’s flashiest new digs.
“When I arrived here... I felt like a king, you know, the Pharaoh... the king of Egypt,” joked Phillip Park, a South Korean guest.
“I really enjoyed the luxury atmosphere,” added Vietnamese guest Luong Van Thuan, saying he felt his status had automatically been “raised.”
The relatively modest construction price tag was achieved by sourcing the gold plating locally — significantly reducing costs.
“Our group has a factory that can do gold-plated stuff, so the cost for our equipment and furniture here is quite cheap,” Duong said.
And the pandemic which has strafed global tourism has not put him off opening, with Vietnam winning praise for its swift lockdown which has contained the coronavirus spread.
“For sure next year, we will make money,” he added.