As a mailman in the remote regions of France, Ferdinand Cheval’s route required a lot of walking; on one of his journeys, Cheval stumbled over a particularly beautiful stone. He started collecting beautiful and unusual rocks he saw along the way. But instead of starting a simple rock collection, Cheval started building.
It took him 33 years to finish it and countless stones, but by 1912 the Palais Ideal was complete. Having no architectural experience, Cheval stuck to simple techniques, like binding the rocks with a mixture of mortar, lime, and cement. His inspirations were drawn from whatever he found beautiful or interesting; often his ideas came from the beautiful postcards he delivered along his journeys. The lack of formal training allowed him to follow his dreams and the result is one of the most stunning and unique palaces ever built.
To this day, the Palais Ideal remains a remarkably popular location for visitors, and proof that inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. What started as a dream has been made real. Ferdinand Cheval’s Palais Ideal proves everything is possible, and inspiration can come from the smallest of places — even a humble rock.