A strike closed the Eiffel Tower for most of last Friday. The unionized staff and and the tower officials were fed up. They'd had enough and felt unable to protect visitors and themselves from pickpockets operating around the Paris landmark. The staff and officials demanded more help. "There have always been pickpockets at the Eiffel Tower, but we are now facing an organized network", said a union representative. The strikers want additional police to be deployed.
The company said it was already cooperating with police to improve security at one of the world's best known tourist draws. The site was closed for about six hours and reopened to visitors in the late afternoon.
The staff protest and strike came a day after Paris authorities launched a drive to improve tourist protection and said theft around Paris' main attractions was on the decline compared to last year.
The last time I went to the Eiffel Tour was when my son was six years old. It was a summer evening, after a long day, but at least with not many people. I remember how my son complained that we had to go up so many, many stairs. We were with my friend Jo, and her daughter, the same age, who'd brought our special treat. Jo had suggested and furnished everything for a late night picnic on the Eiffel Tower. Perfect, non? In the summer it remained light for hours, so here we were finally after a long climb on the second level, I think. Both of the kids had gone on 'strike' and said they weren't taking another step and they were starving. I'd carried a big melon, bottle of wine and Jo, ever the Brit, a flowered tablecloth, bread, cheese and charcuterie. Imagine Paris spread below us and no UTENSILS ie no wine bottle opener, knife or anything to cut with! Poor Jo had forgotten and brought everything but...She ended up finding a plastic knife so les enfants could slice the cheese, saucissons and they tore off the baguette. But alas, the knife broke trying to cut open the sweet smelling honey-dew melon. No bottle opener either, honestly we thought some French person would be carrying one somewhere on the Eiffel tower but zut! Despite the lack of utensils, we ate and les enfants were finally sated, us too. But I kept looking below and thinking how would a melon look if I just let it drop à la David Letterman - I'd remembered the show where he'd dropped a watermelon from multi-storied building once and replayed it in slo-mo...Jo got very British and wouldn't let me drop the melon because she said I could actually hurt someone and the staff would be waiting to arrest me at the bottom. So we carried the melon and the wine back down the stairs, across the Champs de Mars and onto the Metro. So our saga had no pickpockets and no wine bottle opener.