France 24 reports that the Eiffel Tower closed to the public on Wednesday afternoon as staff went on strike over how to organise tourists visits to the monument.
“Staff from the Eiffel Tower operating company, SETE, are protesting how visits to the iconic Parisian monument are organised, complaining of the sometimes “monstrous” queues that form for the popular tourist attraction.
Negotiations to avoid a strike that would halt public visits to the Tower were suspended on Wednesday, according to a union source contacted by AFP. A general meeting will be held in the late afternoon to decide on the length of the strike.”
Since early July the monument has set aside half of daily tickets for people who buy them in advance on the internet and choose a scheduled time for their visit. Previously just 20 percent of tickets could be booked ahead of time.
But the tower’s management has also decided to reserve specific elevators for each type of ticket holder, a move which “creates lines that are at times monstrous and often lopsided”, the CGT union said in a statement.
During off-peak times for pre-booked tickets, such as early afternoon or evening, the reserved elevator might be half empty – and yet there may be lines of up to three hours at the other elevator, which allows walk-in visitors.