More French museums reopen but strike goes on

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The Independent Online

Tourists had to take pot luck again in seeing the sights of Paris Saturday as a strike by museum staff kept some major attractions closed while others reopened at least for the day.

The Louvre museum was mainly open, while the Palace of Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe and the towers of Notre Dame cathedral were back in business, but the Pompidou Centre of modern art and the Musee d'Orsay, which contains many Impressionist masterpieces, remained closed for the third day.

Also closed were the Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie.

The strike was called by seven unions representing culture ministry employees to protest plans to trim the civil service by replacing only half of all retiring employees.

Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand has refused to back down.

The Louvre had 70 percent of its galleries open Saturday, despite a decision by staff at a meeting to continue the strike. Management said many employees were not heeding the strike call, while pickets were allowing visitors to enter.