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Strike action hits Paris sites

Arc de Triomphe
Tourism in Paris suffers another setback  

PARIS, France -- A handful of tourist attractions in Paris have been closed after state museum and gallery staff went on strike.

Sites such as the Arc de Triomphe and the spires of Notre Dame were closed on Friday while others were open and free because there were not enough staff on duty to operate ticket offices.

Strikers say that arrangements to improve their working conditions have not been introduced.

Workers at Paris' state-owned museums and galleries have been granted additional leave under moves to introduce a 35-hour week, but they say they cannot take the extra holiday because no one has been hired to replace them.

One trades union leader, Camel Hesni, said."The museums risk staying closed, or free, until the government agrees to a deal.

"Discussions have deadlocked and I don't know how long this could last."

Among the tourist sites which remained closed were the Musee d'Orsay, famed for its impressionist collection, the Pompidou Centre modern art exhibition hall, and the Pantheon -- the burial place of writers Victor Hugo and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Tourists visiting the Louvre museum, home of the Mona Lisa, were able to wander around for at no charge.

The strike began on October 9, but sites had been open as normal until Friday.


• French tourism

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