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Renowned French museum reopens after strike

Published on 06/12/2009

Paris - Paris's Orsay Impressionist art museum reopened on Sunday after a strike shut it down for four days, staff said, but more disruption at major French tourist sites looked likely next week.

Tourists had to take pot luck visiting other sites in the capital, where several national monuments were closed this week.

Entry to the Orsay museum, home to a major collection of Impressionist art, was free as usual on the first Sunday of the month, the museum’s press service told AFP.

The museum is always closed on Mondays and staff are due meet on Tuesday to decide whether to resume the strike action against job cuts in public cultural institutions.

Paris’s most popular art museum, the Louvre, reopened Friday after picketing workers barred visitors from masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa for a day, but some staff there vowed to continue their strike.

The Palace of Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe and the towers of Notre Dame cathedral went back into business on Saturday, but the Pompidou Centre of modern art extended its two-week strike all weekend.

The strike was called by unions representing culture ministry workers 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.