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Once upon a time there was a postman. Every day, Ferdinand Cheval, for that was his name, set out on his 18 mile country round, delivering the long-awaited letters.

One spring day of 1879, on his usual route in Hauterives, in south-eastern France, Ferdinand stumbled across an unusual stone. He stopped to pick it up. Holding the oddly shaped pebble in his hand, the 43-year old postman decided to take it home.

The next day, walking more slowly than usual, Cheval began to look for other unique pieces of sandstone.With every day, his walks became longer and longer, and his stone collection grander and grander.

Bringing home from his postal walks more and more treasures, Ferdinand soon had his entire garden filled with his findings. Yet he pursued this strange hobby of his for 33 years.

You see, our postman had a plan. Each day, after tiring work, he would get home and mixing the pebbles with lime, cement and water, he would build a palace that he saw few years earlier in his dream.

And this is how the Palais Ideal came to life. Born from patience and persistence of a postman who devoted half of his life to build a breathtaking palace in his own backyard with the stones collected on his way to work.


Despite spending his entire life in France, Cheval’s style was influenced by ancient Egyptian and Hindu  architecture, medieval castles, mosques, mythology and various exotic animals that he knew only from magazines and postcards.

This little architectural marvel known as the Ideal Palace is a true tribute to the power of a dream. It is an ideal place to pause and reflect on our own perseverance.How determined are you to bring your dreams to life?

Why not go to Lyon, rent a car and drive to Hauterives to find out?


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