In addition to those that are capable of closing parts of Versailles, the most dramatic strikes in France have to be the ones that involve public transportation. Métro strikes all but bring the city to its knees, with sights like this instilling the fear of God into travelers like me. Air France strikes are also known for their elevated pain-in-the-neck factor, and while I have had experience with being barred from an Air France flight, it was not as the result of a strike. Then there was the garbage collectors strike in Cannes that I missed by mere hours because of a weekend trip to Strasbourg, and which involved the workers throwing garbage all over the city streets (quelle classe), and while I did encounter a museum strike last year in Paris, it was on a much smaller scale as the current. Just the Musée d’Orsay and one utterly annoyed American student.
I have a difficult time understanding the strike mentality in France. I recognize the importance of strikes in French society and the right of workers to assert their wants and needs, but in the end, I simply don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I have no information on whether or not all this societal disruption actually brings tangible results, or because I’ve never myself gone on strike and therefore am unable to empathize with the strikers. Or maybe, it's because I'm not meant to understand it. It's quite possible that the frequency and regularity with which the the French are en grève is simply meant to remain one of those eternal French mysteries, like how they don't get fat, and why on Earth they refuse to clean up after their dogs.