Ferdinand Cheval took 33 years to single-handedly build his dream palace – and he did it by collecting rocks as he delivered the post…
The Palais Ideal in Hauterives, France, is a unique structure. It is made entirely out of stones found by postman Ferdinand Cheval, on his round.
One night, Cheval dreamed about building a palace. He thought nothing of this dream for years, until one day his foot caught on an unusual rock during his round, The rock was so fascinating to Cheval that he took it home to admire it.
For the next thirty three years, Cheval picked up interesting looking stones during his post round. He put them in his pockets at first, before using a basket, and then a wheelbarrow. His dream from years ago came back into his memory as he searched for stones with which to build his palace.
He mostly worked at night by the light of an oil lamp, continuing his post round during the day. 33 years the palace was completed.
Today, the palace is a protected landmark and is open to visitors. Cheval had expressed a wish to be buried in his palace when he died, but this was illegal in France at the time. Instead, he spent a further eight years building himself a mausoleum, in which he is buried now.