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A one-man masterpiece: Cheval’s palace!

Visiting Cheval's Palais idéal

What can a man, helped only by a wheelbarrow, do? An answer to this question is: an entire building!

What?! A whole palace built just by a man in over 30 years? When we found out about this place, we knew we couldn’t miss it…we were too curious!

Le palais idéal du facteur Cheval is classified among the historical monuments of France…rightfully we’d add! According to the story, Ferdinand Cheval, a French postman living in Hauterives (in Drôme department), stumbled on a weird stone while he was walking; this event reminded him of a dream he had made one night about building a palace.

palais facteur cheval - where the foodies go18
The stone Cheval stumbled upon

He said:

“It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful, I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight… It’s a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature. I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture.” (Wikipedia)

For the following 33 years (1879-1912), using his irreplaceable wheelbarrow, he collected other stones and built this incredible building, 12 metres high and 26 metres long. A mix of different styles and a hymn to Nature, he worked on his palace day and night, in the light of an oil lamp.

A Hindu temple, a middle-age castle, stairs, palm trees, animals, giants: experiencing this place was absolutely amazing!!! Walking inside it, seeing all the materials and details, was really inspiring: willpower can do anything!

We took many photos, so you have the chance to visit through our gallery:

Together with the visit, you will have the chance to see the museum of Cheval’s life and source of inspiration.

Cheval wanted to be buried in his palace, but the French law didn’t allow it; so he spent other 8 years making his own mausoleum in Hauterives cemetery

Cheval's mausoleum
Cheval’s mausoleum in Hauterives cemetery (credit: Wikipedia)


Where: 8, rue du Palais –  26390  Hauterives – Drôme / GPS : Lat 45.255889 Long 5.027794

Have you ever visited this place? Write a comment, we want to hear from you!

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