French Mailman Spends 33 Years Building Epic Palace From Pebbles Collected On His 18-Mile Mail Route

France is chock-full of palaces, but there’s one – Palais Ideal – that stands out above the rest as a work of art and devotion. Ferdinand Cheval, a French postman with no formal architectural or artistic training, spent 33 years building this extraordinary structure by cementing together oddly-shaped rocks that he found along his mail route.

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.

The Palace Ideal is located in Hauterives, a town in southeastern France. It is open almost all year for visits, and also often serves as a venue for extraordinary concerts and art exhibitions. If you’re traveling to France, but this amazing work of DIY outsider art on your list!

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1 Image credits: Emmanuel Georges

2 Image credits: Thierry Ollivier

3 Image credits: Emmanuel Georges


Image credits: Daderot


Image credits: Marie Cardon


Image credits: Thierry Ollivier


Image credits: Emmanuel Georges


Image credits: Thierry Ollivier


Image credits: Wim Constant


Image credits: Thierry Ollivier

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