The French get a bad rap for being jerks, wimps and generally unpleasant people. Maybe there is historical proof to support that stereotype, but the French of today seem more like crazy badasses. Yeah, tightrope walking and parkour may not seem as hard-core as BASE jumping and “Jackass”–but it is the way they do it. Perhaps it’s all the readily available wine that skews their judgment, but cartwheeling off a cliff into a free fall is nuts…and totally awesome to watch. Whether dancing on a tightrope across the Twin Towers or eating calf brains, the French are constantly coming up with ways to make Americans questions their sanity. And we’re a pretty crazy bunch.
1. Flight of the Frenchies
“I Believe I Can Fly” is a documentary by Sébastien Montaz-Rosset about Skyliners. Basically, guys who willingly bounce across a rope, albeit harnessed (sometimes), above sharp rocks, canyons and in between buildings in Paris. The same guys also cartwheel off cliffs into a free fall dive with a parachute. We’re just going to believe they tried it once to feed their adrenaline rush, hit their heads and have since lost all sense.
2. ‘Man on a Wire’
In 1974 Philippe Petit thought it’d be a great idea to walk a tightrope between the roofs of the Twin Towers. Not only was the act illegal, but he didn’t wear a parachute or any kind of harness in case his stunt went south. And as if signing his own death certificate, he not only walked the rope, but danced, knelt and lay on it as well. Lucky for him, and everyone on the streets below, he survived–only to be arrested once he made it to the other side.
Jumping from building to building, jumping off a building, scaling a wall, back-flipping off a bridge…parkour is the practice of speed and efficiency. It’s also a great way to figure out the fastest way to break your leg.
4. Dinner is served
Not only are calf brains eaten in France, but they consider it a delicacy. A writer over at Weird-Foods.com wrote, “The fleshy bits of a calf’s head [is] cooked for a long time and cut into squares, each consisting of a few strings of slimy meat and a 1cm thick layer of gelatinous glop. The brain is served in the corner of the plate.” That sounds like something you’d see Steve-O do on “Jackass.”