Earlier this year, when Bob and I were visiting Paris, we had to change our plans on the fly. We had purchased advance tickets for admission to the Catacombs, but when we arrived at our appointed time, we learned that they were closed for the day. Government workers were on a “social movement” or strike. The only way we found this out was via a small sign on the front door. It was not a problem for us, only a slight inconvenience, as we were able to use our tickets for admission the following day, when the “social movement” was over. It was never clear to us why the workers were on their social movement, but things appeared back to normal the next day. The Catacombs is a very popular site and some visitors wait hours for admission during high season. We were there on a weekday in February, and because we had purchased tickets on their website in advance, we didn’t have to wait in line.
This week, workers at the Louvre went on a day-long strike, protesting “unprecedented deterioration of conditions.” While that may sound a bit vague, visitors to the Louvre increased by 25% from 2017 to 2018, and the Union stated that museum facilities are not increasing along with the growing number of visitors, and staff is actually decreasing.
I suspect that the strike at the Louvre in late May will have a greater impact than the social movement at the Catacombs in February, but I admit I have no idea how these things work. I can only say that if visitors’ numbers keep growing, and workers continue to be unhappy, visitors are going end up unhappy as well. Particularly if they’re shut out of a once in a lifetime visit to a historic site.