History lovers visiting Paris might have made a plan to check out the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday. After all, it was the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustave Eiffel, the eponymous civil engineer whose company designed and built it.
But the sign they discovered by the landmark bore grim tidings: “La Tour Eiffel est actuellement fermée.” The tower was closed.
The reason will be familiar to anyone who has spent significant time in France: a labor action.
Tourists could mill about on the Esplanade, the ground-level area around the base of the tower. But they could not spend the 28.3 euros it costs to take an elevator to the top, nor pay the discounted rate of €21.5 for those hardy souls willing to climb the stairs roughly half of the way.
Topping out at 1,083 feet, or about three-quarters of the height of the Empire State Building including its spire, the tower attracts six million to seven million tourists a year.