Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace in Hauterives
Back in 1879, a simple postman from France fulfilled his greatest wish and began to build a whole palace complex, which is now called “Le Palais Idéal” in other words ” Cheval’s Ideal Palace”. He built this masterpiece for 33 long years.
The masterpiece of Ferdinand Cheval is located near Lyon, in the small town of Hauterives in France.
Ferdinand Cheval was born April 19, 1836 in Sharm-sur-Laerbasse. As a boy, he did not like to study and at the age of 13 he left school and got a job as a baker’s assistant. At the age of 32, he, taking his wife, moved to the rural outback and began working as a postman. Day after day, he walked 30 km on foot, delivering correspondence. In these movements, he looked with surprise at the postcards from various exotic countries that he carried to the addressees. He dreamed of seeing all these beauties.
One April afternoon, he was walking in thought and stumbled over a stone. He picked it up and began to examine it from all sides. He liked the drawing and the unusualness of the stone. Then, in speed, he returned and began to look for pebbles around. For many years he carried these stones in his pockets, then he bought a wheelbarrow and began to collect stones in it. For many years, he piled these stones in his own garden. In the evenings, he studied books about the architecture of different countries, nurturing his dream of building a palace.
Ferdinand began to build his future creation, having gone on a well-deserved rest.
Long 20 years have passed since he raised his first stone.
Using only simple tools, cement, iron fittings and lime, the postman built his building. He combined several cultures in his design. Later, his style of architecture was called “Naive Architecture”.
The dimensions of the building, built by one person, are amazing: 26 m long, 14 m wide and 10 m high. On the east side of the building is written: “10,000 days. 93,000 hours. 33 years of struggle, if anyone thinks they can do better, let them try.”
The construction of this wonderful palace ended in 1912.
All the townsfolk and neighbors laughed at Ferdinand and considered him crazy.
In the cellars of this building, he made two more crypts, one for himself, the second for his wife. Ferdinand dreamed of being buried in the depths of this building, but the French authorities were forced to refuse him. It was against the law. And for another 8 years he built a crypt on the territory of the city cemetery. He made it in the same style as his palace.
Ferdinand died at the age of 88 on August 19, 1924.