On September 18 and 19, as part of the EHD and the launch of the Cultural Olympiad, Nathan Paulin joined the Théâtre de Chaillot from the Eiffel Tower by walking on a wire.
The director of the Théâtre de Chaillot, Rachid Ouramdane had organized this performance which was part of a series on artists of gesture. Nathan Paulin appeared in the one titled, “The Traceurs”. He was accompanied on the ground by the XY collective, made up of 9 acrobats.
After crossing the circus of Navacelles on a cable, north of Montpellier in 2017, Nathan Paulin returned almost 4 years later. He walked on a 670-meter slackline, 70 meters above the ground, between the Eiffel Tower and the Chaillot theater. Successful bet!
Last performance before the Eiffel Tower
Crossing the Cirque de Navacelles on a strap in Saint-Maurice-de-Navacelles, between Ganges and Caylar, the border between Gard and Hérault, was a challenge. Nathan Paulin, succeeded in his challenge when he was only 23 years old, even breaking the dizzying world record, established on June 9, 2017.
After 2 years of preparation, he achieved his longest performance on a “highline” of 1660 meters, at a height of 300 meters. Nathan practices his sport in a safe way, connected to a multiple belay system in the event of a fall from a slackline.
The highline is a derivative of tightrope walking, in height and without a balance accessory. It is practiced on a textile strap 2.5 cm wide (stackline). For his safety during the crossing, the athlete must wear a harness attached to a lifeline.
The safety system includes a climbing harness, a safety rope (leash), one or two belay rings, and a lifeline (backup). This device is very often reinforced by doubling the leash. We add 2 rings around the strap and the back-up.
The material used is inspired by that used in the practice of climbing: studs and plates or spit for anchors, harness and semi-static or dynamic ropes for belaying, ascenders, pulleys, etc. Certain material elements require high mechanical resistance and come from the lifting equipment: slings, shackles.
For the director of the Theater, it was “a lesson in freedom”. He wanted to “bring a new perspective on heritage, it is to make it come alive”. According to one spectator, this feat “looks like the opening ceremony of the Olympics”,
It was not the first time that the “highliner” worked with Rachid Ouramdane. They had already collaborated around a performance in the air at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, on a composition by musician Malik Djoudi.
In Paris, the first attempt took place on September 18 at 4:15 p.m., the second on September 19 at 3 p.m. At 27, the best tightrope walker in the world holds around fifteen records.
Nathan Paulin started from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, at a height of 68 meters (nearly 2 Parisian buildings). He traveled 630 meters on a strap as wide as an inch to reach the roof of the Théâtre de Chaillot at 56 meters above the ground. It is the longest crossing in an urban environment. Above the Seine, it was 30 meters above the ground. To achieve this performance, a team of 12 people accompanied him to fix the equipment without damaging the monuments.
Who is Nathan Paulin?
Nathan Paulin was born in Reposoir in Haute-Savoie. At 27, he is one of the most successful tightrope walkers in the world. Who would have thought that someone who was afraid of heights would become a tightrope walker in an extreme environment? Little by little, he tames his fear, starting first on the ground and then gaining height.
The highline is more than a hobby for Nathan. It is a way to show the fragility of the environment. He chooses strategic places most often threatened by global warming such as glaciers. Last summer, he crossed the Argentières glacier which is melting. With his brother Clovis, he installs a line above the void. He uses a drone to connect the two anchors and soars off after just over an hour of setup.
In 1989, the tightrope walker Philippe Petit achieved the feat for the centenary of the Eiffel Tower. Nathan Paulin was already in December 2017, the world record holder for the highline, after the challenge taken on the Telethon. In 2019, he returned to the Eiffel Tower, during the Telethon. He had walked a stackline between 2 pillars of the Tower, connecting the 1st and 2nd floors.
The slackliner dreams of connecting the Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse. There will be difficulties installing the line and obtaining the permissions. A 2:15 crossing which, all the same, scares him a little.