John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
There are at least three close calls with death in this hair-raising video.
Parkour experts and their buildering brethren often swear their stomach-turning stunts high above the ground are controlled and not exactly dangerous. Still, it’s hard to resist some inner gasping watching this footage from Paris, in which a pair of urban athletes leap across alleys and dodge ventilation shafts leading to the black abyss.
It’s a slow burn of a video, with the real action starting around 2:00. Those who want to skip around should begin there, with a potential plummet averted by the videographer’s muscly fingers, and check out other death-defying moments at 2:40 and 3:20. Whatever shoes the pair are using must have supernormal traction—the roofs in this part of the city look to be made of slick metal.
Here’s how the guy who posted the video, SamUltima, describes that harrowing day:
About 1 month ago, we decided to climb up some roofs with Mohamed. Feeling a bit tired, we thought we will mostly climb or walk around and just enjoy the view of Paris on this sunny day…
But we found some awesome roofs that were all linked together and even a small spot at the highest point we manage to get to. So we began to move and jump around, the mission was getting more and more intense. We didn't know how long we could stay there so we were doing every movement on the first attempt.