Philippe Petit (born 13 August 1949) is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Sydney harbour bridge, as well as his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
In 1974, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were nearing completion, a twenty four-year-old Frenchman, Philippe Petit did something nobody was expecting and few people saw – he walked between the two towers on a tightrope. So many things about this amazing feat are extraordinary. First of all, it took years of planning and several visits to New York, some of which included using fake identities to gain access to the towers, and taking a helicopter flight so that he could photograph them to enable him to make a model. Based on this, he then carefully calculated how to set up his wire across the gap between the two towers.
This he did the night before his walk.
He then slept on the roof of one of them before completing his feat at six o’clock in the morning. Petit did not simply walk across on the wire, however – he ran, danced, lay down and jumped up and down on it, crossing the divide at least six times before he finally
gave himself up to police officers who were waiting to arrest him.
All of this happened 400 metres above the Manhattan streets with no safety net.