It has been said that Rome was never built in a day. There were thousands of architects and builders who ensured that Rome was built today. Likewise, we have seen that another city can be built by just one man called Ferdinand Cheval. This man is a rural postman who had dedicated 33 years of his life in constructing an incredible limestone palace, that was complete with pillars, buttresses and grottoes. How did he achieve this unbelievable feat?
Cheval who was a widower would often find this unusually shaped rocks as he delivered mail in France, and ended he had up pushing a wheelbarrow each day on his 18-mile route to collect these stunning stones. Initially, he had started this as a small hobby that became one of the most magnificent amateur architectural structures to date; Le Palais idéal.
You may be mistaken when you see this palace to be Angkor palace because the grotto has its influences from the religion, Hinduism. Cheval had left his school when his 13 and became a baker’s apprentice, however, he had ended up delivering mail in the Hauterives area.
In his early 30s, the inspiration for this stunning cathedral came when he had tripped over an extraordinary shaped rock. He said that he had wanted to know the cause. In a dream he had built a palace, a castle or caves. He told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and he felt ridiculous myself.
He concluded that since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, he was going to do the masonry and the architecture. He would be seen hauling his discovery to a site in Hauterives every day after work, and thus began the ambitious 33 year project, completed with no outside help. He was so dedicated that he would work late into the night with the support of the light of an oil lamp.
Cheval had to leave his son in the care of godparents, in order to be able to focus his energies on his work. The outer walls of this architectural work measures 24 metres in length, and 10 metres high, and it took him 22 years to complete, with Cheval binding the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.
Le Palais idéal is as intricate as it is vast, and includes sculptures of exotic animals and mythical creatures, which were inspired by the postcards he delivered, and with influences from Christianity and Hinduism. It is over a hundred years that it was constructed and it has been featured on the French stamp in 1986. He was also buried at this palace.
When Cheval died, he requested that he could be buried at the palace. Though, this was not approved by the French government but it has become a fascinating place to be. A lot of people are impressed with this palace and no one has been able to achieve such a feat with crude method. Do you wish to visit this magnificent Le Palais ideal? It is a really a magnificent architectural structure to see.