A Palace that Rocks!

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on November 18th, 2010

In 1879, a French postman named Ferdinand Cheval stumbled over a stone while delivering the mail. He picked up the rock that tripped him and studied it closely. He found the shape and texture quite beautiful and bizarre, so the next day he returned to the same spot and began collecting more, taking home pocketfuls of stones each night. Over time, his wife grew frustrated with the stones tearing the pockets of his pants so he began collected the stones in baskets and eventually a wheelbarrow.

Over the next three decades, Mr. Cheval picked up stones on his daily mail route and took them home to work on what he described as his “fairy-like palace beyond imagination”. His palace was made solely of these beautiful stones which were bonded together with cement, lime, wire and mortar.

Even while the townspeople laughed at him and called him a mad old fool, he continued creating his dream, working late into the night by light of an oil lamp. Ultimately, the mocking turned to admiration and encouragement and 34 years later, his work was complete.

The name of his creation is Le Palais Ideal (Ideal Palace). It is located in the tiny town of Hauterives, about 53 miles southeast of Lyon. It is open to the public year-round with the exception of holidays.

The next time you take a trip to France, why not rent a car in Lyon and head down to Hauterives to see this wondrous work of art for yourself?

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Written by 1800FlyEurope

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