Meeting a creator and dreamer

Ferdinand Cheval

In the footsteps of the legend of the letter carrier Cheval. Follow his itinerary as a letter carrier, discover his unique creation, his village of birth… A trip out of time that transports you into an era, that of a crazy dreamer.

Joseph Ferdinand Cheval

Born on April 19, 1836 in Charmes-sur-l'Herbasse, he became the most famous letter carrier of the Drôme and of France before his death in 1924.

A dream...

to reality

Born in 1836, the factorCheval tried his hand at several jobs before delivering mail. Initially a baker, he became a letter carrier and was transferred to Hauterives in 1878. It is in this small peaceful commune inthe north of the Drôme that his dream will begin…

Letter carrier Cheval in front of his Palace postcardLetter carrier Cheval in front of his Palace postcard
©Letter carrier Cheval in front of his Palace postcard

I was walking fast, when my foot caught something that sent me rolling a few meters away. I wanted to know the cause. I was very surprised to see that I had brought out of the ground a stone with such a strange shape, at the same time so picturesque that I looked around me. I saw that it was not alone.

Letter carrier by day

Architect by night

The day he stumbles, he takes the stone and leaves. The next day, he returns to the same place to take more. He then begins this titanic construction site that will last 33 years, the Ideal Palace not being completed until 1912. Every day during his tour, he locates and collects stones with a basket or his wheelbarrow. After his day, he turns into an architect and builds the palace of his dreams. Hard hit by family hardships, he still finds the courage to build for 8 years what will be his tomb, at the entrance of the communal cemetery. He died shortly after its completion, on August 19, 1924.