Tourists wanting to visit the Eiffel Tower on Thursday were disappointed as they arrived on location, only to discover that the edifice was closed to the public due to national strikes taking place all over France against proposed labor reforms.
"It's bad luck for us because we're only here today, we leave in the evening so we, yeah... We have no chance to see Paris from the Eiffel Tower," German tourist Rene said as he was walking away with his wife and child.
French rail and air traffic suffered serious disruption after transport staff stopped work and took to the streets along with high-school students to challenge plans for a pro-business loosening of the country's protective labor laws, a demonstration joined by the Eiffel Tower'sstaff.
"Well we're pretty upset because we came a long way. Yeah and we were visiting in London and now we came here but it's closed, we really wanted to go up there. It's pretty sad," Stephanie, an American tourist from New York said.
Under rainy skies, tourists came and went under Paris' most famous landmark and despite the shut down, still took the time to pose for pictures as French soldiers patrolled the area.
"Well we weren't going to go up it anyway but for people that did want to I think it's really really, it's awful isn't it? It's really sad, if they've come all this way. It's a lot of money, disappointing but yeah," English tourist Jo said.
The three protests to date have been low-key by the standards of past French strikes, but organizers hope to mobilize more people this time.
At issue is a proposed overhaul of France's labor code, a set of regulations bosses claim deters recruitment. Critics say the reforms will lead to worse working conditions and more sackings.
The reforms, due to be debated in parliament next week, would give employers more flexibility to agree in-house deals with employees on working time.