A STRIKE today closed Mont-Saint-Michel as the Tour de France arrived.
Workers at the Unesco-recognised monument walked out yesterday as part of a dispute dating back several months as they protested against new shuttles that take workers, residents and visitors to the Mont.
The Tour de France arrives at Mont-Saint-Michel at the end of the 33km time trial from Avranches but racers and visitors will find the abbey and the rest of the monument closed.
A new access system to Mont-Saint-Michel that gets rid of the vast causeway linking the island to the mainland is at the centre of the dispute as the shuttles are the only transport to takes staff, shop-owners and visitors to the site.
However, staff and traders say they also have to queue with visitors for the shuttles and the queuing system take far too long. A journey that would previously have taken 10 minutes now takes 40.
They want the separate shuttle access restored for staff, traders and residents.
The Mont car parks see 4,000 cars each day during the season and for the past month staff carried on the dispute without restricting access to Mont-Saint-Michel. They refused to charge visitors the €9 access fee.
Last year visitor numbers to Mont-Saint-Michel dropped after the pay shuttles were introduced. Visitors had to walk from the car and bus parks to the shuttle station as the access to the Mont is reconfigured to restore the island character of the site.