Museum Lights Out (Temporarily) in the City of Lights: a “grève” situation

Lights out at the Louvre

My daughter Anna had a dream of going to Paris this Christmas. She looked up photos of Paris during the holidays – the cozy cafes, the twinkling white lights. It didn’t work out for us to go this year. In hindsight, I’m relieved we didn’t splurge on tickets after reading news of the closing of many of Paris’s major museums.


Museum workers are striking against a government plan to replace only half of retiring civil service workers, and other planned cuts. The two sides are in talks but not close to an agreement as yet.

To best make their case, the workers are striking In the midst of the holiday season – a museum workers’ strike has led to closure of two of France’s biggest tourist attractions: The Louvre Museum in Paris and the Palace of Versailles, in a Paris suburb . The Pompidou Center for modern art was the first museum to be affected by the strike nine days ago. The Arc de Triomphe, Gustave Moreau Museum, the Gothic chapel Sainte-Chapelle, Rodin Museum and Musee d’Orsay have since followed.

Worker strikes or “grève des travailleurs” are a way of life in Paris. Last summer, when leaving Paris, I asked my landlord how long I should allow for the cab ride to the airport. Oh, a couple hours, he said. To be safe, and since I didn’t have anything better to do, I ended up leaving my apartment four hours before my flight’s departure time. In reality, I barely arrived as the flight was boarding.

The reason, according to my courageous cab driver, was “the grève” or “the strike.” On the day we we were driving to the airport, a workers’ strike was blocking airport entrances; my resourceful cab driver took a back entrance and I arrived with only minutes to spare.

Parisians seem to take their strikes in stride – c’est la vie. But for the many travelers to the City of Lights this holiday season, let’s hope that museum lights are quickly turned back on.

1 comment to Museum Lights Out (Temporarily) in the City of Lights: a “grève” situation

  • Joyeux Noel and thanks for sharing this; I hadn’t heard about the strike. It’s hard to imagine a trip to Paris without a visit to the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay. There must be so many disappointed visitors — hopefully they can console themselves with extra pastries, cheeses and wine!