Postman Builds a Handmade Palace

In the late 19th century, a postal worker named Ferdinand Cheval happened upon a rather bizarre looking rock while walking his usual route. The shape of the rock fascinated him and ultimately led him to pursue his life’s passion of creating a structure he would refer to as the “Ideal Palace.”

The palace was built by Cheval himself in a quest 33 years in the making. He started collecting stones of interest along his route in his pocket. Eventually he upgraded to a bag and ultimately a wheel-barrow that he would trudge along his entire route.

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After he was done with his day job Cheval would work tirelessly throughout the nights, often by the light of an oil lamp. He spent the first 20 years building the outer walls and eventually began the interior and decorative aspects. His version of a Hindu temple was surrounded with planted cacti and palm trees.

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 The end result was a structure 85 feet long and over 30 ft. high. Cheval completed his Ideal Palace in his 70s. He then opened it up to the public for all to enjoy. His wish was to be buried in it but he was refused permission and eventually set forth on his final project of building an equally complex and unique tomb for himself. In 1924 at the age of 88 Ferdinand would take permanent rest there.

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