The Postman who built a Palace made of Pebbles

By

16th Apr, 2013

This is the story of a French postman who spent thirty years of his life building his dream home– a palace made of pebbles and stones he found along his postal route….

Ferdinand Cheval allegedly first began building his “Palais Ideale” in 1879 when he tripped over an unusual stone. Inspired by its shape, he began collecting more small stones each day. At first he would carry home the pebbles he found on his mail rounds in his pockets, but as he began collecting more, he started carrying them home in baskets, and eventually a wheelbarrow.

Cheval spent the first 20 years building the outer walls of the palace near his home in Drôme, France, using cement, lime and mortar to bound the stones he found together. He worked alone, after his work shift at night with just an oil lamp.

The finished structure showed influences of Christian and Hindu architecture, though it was independent of any artistic movement or architectural style. A source of inspiration to surrealist artists, the one-man marvel even attracted the attention of Pablo Picasso. Influential Cuban diarist Anaïs Nin, commemorated Cheval’s work in an essay she wrote.

But the postman wasn’t finished. In his late seventies, he spent eight more years working on his own impressive mausoleum in the nearby village cemetery. He was buried there in 1924.

In 1969, the palace was declared a cultural and historic landmark and in 1986 Cheval was put on a French postage stamp. The son of a farmer, Ferdinand had never had any known formal artistic, architectural or masonry training– just natural talent and a heck of a lot of perseverance.

Cheval and his wheelbarrow…

All images thanks to the official site of Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace where you can find more information about visiting.

:::

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 

.

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in Don't Be A TouristEditor's PicksMy Secret ParisParis Like a Local

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

bookart

The Forgotten Book Painter

Have you ever found yourself doodling on the cover of a book, even just tracing over the lines of the artwork with your fingertips, or be it drawing moustaches with a permanent marker on magazine ...

Trending 6,947
Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

My Paris Clubhouse: 5 Hideaway Hangouts

We all had some kind of clubhouse as kids, didn't we? Whether it was a treehouse, a backyard den, a bedroom duvet fort, a secret meeting place in an old shack by the railway tracks; we all needed a...

Trending 12,933
courtyard

The Romeo & Juliet Villages of Santa Barbara

Now this is my idea of a Romeo and Juliet scene– that is if they had fallen in love in a fantasy Andalusian village rather than Verona. We're ogling at the mediterranean residence of Cota Street S...

Trending 4,607
deepnorth7

The Ice Age came early for this Winter Cabin

This is probably a tad out of season, but nonetheless pretty fun to ogle at; an abandoned home hijacked and frozen in time by ice and snow; a homely floral tablecloth stiff as a board, reading glass...

Trending 9,595