the Grande Halle of La Villette is a gorgeous example of an iron-structured market building, but it has been under wraps for two years during a re-division of its performing space. though it's an important music & theatre space, the most frequent users of the Grande Halle have always been the swallows...there's a huge colony of 70-odd nests in the iron frets of the building, and i always enjoy watching the swallows swoop out of the eaves. but for the past two years, the swallows have been coping with serious construction, unable to access their usual perches. (this photo is pre-renovation)
fortunately...the "hirondelle de fenetre" is a protected species in Europe. during the Halle redo, the usual nests were carefully fenced off while artificial nests were hung on nearby buildings, to encourage the birds to hang around during the inconvenience. the Centre Ornithologique Ile-de-France thinks the plan has worked, so the swallows should be all set for the summer.