Friday, April 27, 2012


Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile maybe remember the post I did about the Frenchman postman Ferdinand Cheval and his Ideal Palace, in May 01, 2008. Today checking out the Stats of Leaves of Grass, I saw this post was much viewed. So, I just repeat it for those did not saw this amazing story yet. Vocês que têm seguido este blog já há algum tempo, talvez se lembrem deste post que fiz sobre o carteiro francês Ferdinand Cheval e seu Palácio Ideal, em 1º de Maio de 2008. Checando hoje a Estatística do Leaves of Grass, vi que este post continua sendo muito acessado. Assim eu estou publicando-o novamente, para aqueles que ainda não tiveram a oportunidade de vê-lo.

Many times ago I saw in a magazine a reportage about the French postman Ferdinand Cheval and his Ideal Palace. I was enchanted with the talent and perseverance of this man. I never forgotten him and his remarkable masterpiece. Cheval was forty-three years old when he started the foundation of the Ideal Palace, in 1879. Working alone for thirty-three years, he built a fairy-tale palace. Really, he was a remarkable men! 
Vocês também poderão ler um resumo de sua história incrível, clicando Aqui e acessar o Google Tradutor.


Ferdinand Cheval was also a poet and his writings are chiseled all over the tunnels, sculptures and facades of the Palace. In the tunnel he wrote: "In creating this rock, I wanted to prove what the will can do."

Ferdinand Cheval (1836 – 19 August 1924), was a French postman (facteur in French) who spent 33 years of his life building an "Ideal Palace" (in French Palais Idéal) which is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture. Ferdinand Cheval lived in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the Drôme département of France. He had left school at the age of 13 to become a baker's apprentice but eventually became a postman. He wasn't a mason and not an architect. (Vocês poderão ler sua história em Português, Aqui)

A four-sided castle made from concrete, lime and wire, located in Hauterives, France.

CHEVAL TRIPPED OVER A STONE... One day, at the age of 43, French postman Ferdinand Cheval tripped over a stone when he was out walking. He was so inspired by that beautiful stone that he went back the next day and began collecting stones. From this day forward, Cheval embarked on a 27-year period of collecting stones. At first, Cheval carried the stones home in his pants pockets, later he used baskets and finally Cheval acquired a wheelbarrow. He scoured the countryside for days and nights at a time on his mail route, sleeping in farmhouses and under the stars. He stock-piled the stones he brought back in his yard, which convinced his neighbors that he had gone mad, but he was determined to build the castle and grottoes that had populated his dreams 15 years earlier.

A MAILMAN BY DAY AND AN ARCHITECT BY NIGHT.... Cheval was a mailman by day and an architect by night, building his palace of stones and intricately carved concrete with no assistance from anyone. It took him 34 years of continuous toil to finish his castle, which many sculptures of gods, temples, animals, pilgrims, fountains and towers. The monument's structure is 26 meters long by 14 meters wide and up to 10 meters high, with internal passages lined with sea shells and external stairs and walkways. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement. It is covered with inscriptions of all sorts. An inscription in the north east corner states "10,000 days, 9300 hours , 33 years of toil".

Cheval also wanted to be buried in his palace. However, since that is illegal in France, he proceeded to spend eight more years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hauterives. Cheval died on August 19, 1924, aged 88, around a year after he had finished building it, and is buried there. 
In his autobiography, Cheval wrote that his idea for the monument originated in a dream. Cheval told no one about his dream, afraid he would be ridiculed. Just prior to his death, Ferdinand Cheval began to receive some recognition from luminaries like André Breton and Pablo Picasso. In 1969, André Malraux the Minister of Culture, declared the Palace Ideal as a cultural landmark and had it officially protected.

I wrote this post with information and photos from Wikipedia, Official Website, Motorhome and Away, Claude Travels, Krintian Fiori and Gerald Therin. Thanks for all them.


  1. This is an astonishing, beautiful, inspiring, and in some ways, sad story.

    I'll be back to say more.

  2. Isn't it incredible what can be created out of the dreams and talent of One Man! This is FANTASTIC, Sonia....I remember this post, but in truth, seeing all these pictures again, reminds me of the dedication and obsession that an "ARTIST" can feel as he or she creates something so unique and special...It Brings to mind "THE WATTS TOWERS" and Simon Rhodia...or, George and his "THE TILE HOUSE"...Unique Artistic Visual Obsessions....This is imspiring, isn't it?

  3. That is amazing! What vision!

    Colorado has a castle hand built by one man too. Here's a link -

  4. That is truly an amazing place. I've never heard of it before but now I'd love to see it - walking around in it would be an incredible experience.

  5. Magnificent post of a great man and his work! Abrazos

  6. When the dream becomes reality! I don't see any sadness in his story.

  7. Hi Sonia
    Thanks for sharing the post of this amazing postman who built an amazing castle with his own hands and using a wheel barrow for transportation.

    Have a great Sunday Ram !

  8. This is extraordinary! I love that it's bits of everything. In fact, it looks very hindu temple/buddhist stupa/angkor wattish to me. In some ways, it's also very Gaudi and sagrada familia. Those 3 giants are awesome!

    What a treasure. I'm glad they're preserving it. Also glad you decided to re-post :)x

  9. Inacreditável Sonia e que inspiração
    singular! colher pedras com um objetivo .
    Que bom voce ter postado novamente , nem sempre a gente encontra tempo pra vascular rs as postagens mais antigas dos amigos, eu já gosto de fazer mas essa nao tinha visto nao.
    Gostei demais da criatividade e da forma bonita de sonhar e realizar o sonho.
    Abraços Sonia e obrigada por me fazer lembrar a forma gostosa de nos conhecermos , sua postagem sobre meu blog me deu força pra continuar .
    bons dias da semana

    * ah e sobre uma fala sua sobre o medo da minha gatinha na janela, é preocupante sim, mas ela é medrosa nao se atreve a muito rsrs
    ( mesmo assim tomo os cuidados devidos , estou no momento longe dela( ficou com as netas )aí sim tenho medo do descuido delas , não há de ser nada rsrs

  10. Simply amazing!!!! I'm so glad you shared again! ...and you showed something new in blogger that I need to check out ;)

  11. I am French and I had never heard of this facteur and his palace – what an achievement. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It shows what an artist can do when he has vision. Here in Georgia there was a man who also built buildings covered with art. I have not seen it yet but am planning to visit it – here is a link:

  12. Hi Sonia! Fantastic and amazing are the words I find more appropriate! Thanks for sharing this great post!
    Have a pleasant day

  13. What an amazing place! Built with a dream for a blueprint. His neighbours must have thought him completely crazy.
    He will never be forgotten leaving a monument like that!

  14. Simply amazing!!!! I'm so glad you shared again! ...and you showed something new in blogger that I need to check out ;)

  15. This is a very beautiful and interesting article
    The most glamorous one i have read today!

    High School Diploma

  16. Sonia, eu acho incrível como tem pessoas que ao viverem uma situacao a transformam num castelo.

    Assim como uma artista que nao me lembro o nome, acho que li sobre ela lá no Varal de Idéias, pintava suas telas com sangue, com terra, por nao ter dinheiro para comprar as tintas...

    Boa semana


  17. Wow that was so interesting to read and see the photographs. I'm glad you reposted it, thanks! What an inspiration he is to live one's dream.

  18. Hi Sonia..this is so beautiful.

  19. This is remarkable, Sonia. This man's drive to achieve his vision, it's mind-boggling!


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