Sep 15, 2011

Postman Spends 33 Years Building Palace by Hand [25 pics]


Photograph by EMMANUEL GEORGES

 

Ferdinand Cheval’s Ideal Palace (Palais idéal) stands as a testament that you can achieve anything with time, effort and passion. How else could a simple postman with no formal training, single-handedly build something to the admiration of Picasso, André Breton and André Malraux?

Please enjoy the gallery of photographs below along with a history behind the palace and Mr. Cheval. And if you’re ever in Hauterives, France, make sure to drop by the Ideal Palace!

 

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Photograph by EMMANUEL GEORGES

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

FERDINAND CHEVAL’S IDEAL PALACE

 
Born in 1836, Cheval lived a long life of respectable poverty, apprenticed first to a baker at age 13 and then entering the postal service in 1867. One day on his route he tripped over a stone, picked it up and was taken aback by its bizarre shape.

From that day forward his 33-year quest to build the Ideal Palace began. 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; to the chagrin and confusion of many.

Once home, he worked on his Ideal Palace tirelessly at night, often by light of an oil lamp. He spent the first 20 years building the outer walls and eventually began the interior and decorative aspects. Nothing was beyond the scope of his own imagination. His version of a Hindu temple stood next to a Swiss chalet which stood next to the Maison Carrée in Algiers which stood next to a medieval castle, and somewhere in between there was an Arab mosque. The tutelary spirits of the place, the facteur declared, were Julius Caesar, Archimedes and Vercingétorix.

The grounds were planted with cacti and palm trees. The end result? a structure 26 meters (85 feet) long and over 10 meters (30+ feet) 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 buried in it but was refused permission and eventually set forth on his final project, building an equally complex and magnificent tomb. In 1924 at the age of 88 Ferdinand would take permanent rest there.

In 1969, André Malraux, the Minister of Culture, declared the Palais idéal a cultural landmark and had it officially protected. And in 1986 Cheval was put on a French postage stamp.

[Source: NEW YORK TIMES]

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

 

 

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by EMMANUEL GEORGES

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

VISITING THE IDEAL PALACE

 
2011 FEES
Adults : 5,60 € ; with Audio Guide : 7,60 €
Children (from 6 to 16) : 4 € ; with Audio Guide : 6 €
Students* : 4,60 € ; with Audio Guide : 6,60 €
*(On presentation of the student card)

Group Fees (15 OR MORE)
Adults : 4 €
Children (from 3 to 16) : 3 €

Days of Operation
Open every days except 12/25 and 01/01
Closed from 01/15 to 01/31

For more information please visit: http://www.facteurcheval.com

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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The Tomb of Ferdinand Cheval | Photograph by WIKILUG

 

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Photograph by CLAUDE TRAVELS

 

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Photograph by HIDEHIKO NAGAISHI

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, the Sifter highly recommends:

 
Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House ‘Palais Bulles’ by Antti Lovag

 

 

 

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