The Eiffel Tower is the most famous and one of the most heavily-guarded structures in Paris. For a fee you can hang out inside of it, but its upper reaches are not legally accessible to the public. So three Russian daredevils decided to scale it anyway, without safety equipment, while being filmed by a drone. Go big or go home, as they say.
How did they do it? First, they paid the admission fee and walked through a metal detector. Then, they appear to climb over a gate outside an elevator shaft at night and stow away inside the tower until 5:20AM the next morning, when security and tourists are at a minimum. From the façade of the Eiffel Tower, they get to enjoy a beautiful and terrifying view of the Seine. Their drone operator was not so lucky: According to the description of the video, he both crashed the drone and was fined.
While this stunt is concerning (for French security) and impressive (because woah), a few things seem fishy. They don’t appear to ever reach the very top of the tower, and midway through the Russians are definitely spotted by someone in an orange vest, presumably a guard or police officer. It doesn’t appear that the climb itself was faked in any way, just that parts are edited very selectively.
Regardless, piloting a flying camera near a very public structure less than a year after the Paris attacks while your friends climb it is immensely stupid and, as one of our editors pointed out, it’s a wonder they weren’t all shot on sight.
These three men — who do this sort of thing literally all the time — have shared photos from the tops of similarly tall and inaccessible structure on their respective Instagram accounts. Don’t click any of those links if heights make you queasy.