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! (Por favor, cliquem no Google Tradutor para lerem este post em português. Vocês também poderão ler um resumo de sua história incrível, clicando Aqui
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."
Ideal Palace in the village of Hauterives, in the Rhône Valley, France. Photo by Wikipedia.
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. (Você pode 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".
Photo by Claude Travels
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. (I wrote this post with information by Kristin Fiore, from the site dedicated to the Ideal Palace, Wikipedia, Official Website and Motorhome and Away .
Photo by Claude Travels 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.
Photo by Claude Travels Just prior to his death, 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 as a cultural landmark and had it officially protected.
Facade East, photo by Wikipedia
The signs on the right read "Travail d'un seul homme" (Work of only one man) and "Défense de rien toucher" (It is prohibited to touch anything).
Photo by imageshack
Details facade Nort. Photo by Wikipedia
Photo by Claude Travels
The miniature buildings on the west facade, including a Hindu Temple, Swiss Chalet, Maison Carree in Algiers and a medieval chateau. Photo by Kristen Fiori.
Photo by Claude Travels
The three giants of the east facade. Photo by Gerard Therin
Terrace tower on the south end. Photo by Kristin Fiori
The Arabian mosque on the west side. The sign over the door says, "Entrance to an imaginary palace." Photo by Kristin Fiori.
The east facade, with the three giants on the left and the Egyptian monument on the right. Photo by Kristin Fiori. Video: Postman Cheval's Ideal Palace
The work of only one man
(Banner photo by Gerard Therin)