Think of the most extravagant house that you’ve ever seen. They’re big, they’re beautiful, and their attention to detail is amazing. Most of the time though, they are built by talented craftsmen. What would you say if there was a beautiful palace made of pebbles built by a postman.
Ferdinand Cheval build this magnificent palace one pebble at a time, starting in 1879.
He named it “Palais Ideale”.
He started by carrying home pebbles one at time, as he found them along his mail route.
Over time, he needed more rocks so he started bringing them back home in buckets and then eventually in wheelbarrows.
It took Cheval 20 years to complete the outer walls of his palace. Luckily he was building it near his home in Drome, France. He used cement, lime, and mortar to bind the stones he brought home together. He worked alone using the light of an oil lamp, and would typically work on his palace after his work shift.
Construction on the palace began in 1879 and was completed in 1912. After stumbling on a strange stone that inspired his dream, Cheval began walking his 18-mile mail route with a wheelbarrow so he could collect other strange rocks and pebbles.
Even after he had completed his palace, he spent 8 more years building a mausoleum in the village’s cemetery, where he would be buried 1924. Since then, the palace has been declared a historic and cultural landmark.