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PARIS On a commercial flight to Marseilles, France's Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres sips coffee from a plastic cup and snatches 40 winks before another busy day on his victory lap of France's numerous arts festivals.
A year ago, this journey would have been unthinkable as mass protests by striking showbiz workers halted the prestigious Avignon theater festival and disrupted cultural events all over the country.
The politically embarrassing dispute over cuts to unemployment benefits for those working in the arts helped speed outgoing Minister Jean Jacques Aillagon's exit from the Ministry earlier this year.
But since taking office in …