The Eiffel Tower reopened for visitors early Friday morning, after the tower operator reached an agreement with staff unions over frustrations regarding a new ticketing system that workers claim has created “monstrous” lines during peak tourism season.
On August 1, staffers at Paris’ most famous landmark walked out at 4 p.m. to protest what they reported to be increasingly lengthy lines caused by a new access policy that has created separate waiting queues for different ticket-holders, a change that has been "exhausting" staff as they deal with "frustrated" tourists, according to union officials, Reuters reports.
The Eiffel Tower’s 300-member staff was apparently fed up with the new policy, which has left visitors waiting in “uneven” lines up to three hours to buy same-day tickets. Guests who have purchased tickets online are also winding up stuck on line for up to an hour, according to France 24.
To that end, the tower’s exasperated workers stormed out in hopes of winning more flexibility in “managing the thousands who arrive each day,” eager to reach the top of beloved attraction.
Meanwhile, news of the strike and temporary closure struck a nerve with many tourists, who traveled from near and far to visit La tour Eiffel.
"This is my first time in Paris and I was really excited to see the Eiffel Tower and ... the city from the top, but now it is closed," German tourist Nico Schulze Bilk lamented to the Associated Press of his trip to the French capital, which was planned eight months ago. "I'm a little bit disappointed."
"I'm annoyed, I'm not going to lie. It's going to throw off our whole trip if I'm honest," Robin Frye of Birmingham, England, similarly opined to France 24.
Meanwhile, union reps say that the strike was necessary.
"There have been days with three-hour-long queues. Some elderly people fainted," Eiffel Tower union representative Denis Vavassori told the AP. "We are exhausted and we do not want to relive that in August."
Negotiations between tower operator SETE and tower workers were held to discuss a proposal to resolve the problematic lines on August 2, after which the strike came to a close.
"The SETE is well aware of the disappointment for visitors because of the monument's closure, and its negative impact on the image of both the city and country," SETE said in a statement obtained by France 24. "It offers its apologies to everyone – Parisians and French as well as foreign tourists."
It remains unclear at this time exactly what the new proposal entails.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, over six million people visit the “Iron Lady” every year to hike the 1,063 foot tower.