Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace (Palais ideal du facteur Cheval); Hauterives, France
This beautiful place was the work of just one man, Ferdinand Cheval, who was a local postman (facteur) in the area of Hauterives, France from 1869 until he retired in 1896. He started construction on the monument using lime and cement in 1879, working each day after a 20 mile daily post round on foot. After his retirement in 1896, he continued to build the monument until 1912, after which he started to build a vault for his tomb in the local cemetery. He died in 1924, aged 88.
The monument’s structure is 26 meters long by 14 meters wide and up to 10 meters high, with internal passages lined with sea shells and external stairs and walkways. It is covered with inscriptions of all sorts, figures of many animals, and famous people such as Julius Caesar and Archimedes. What is most amazing is the intricate detail of the decorated figures and arrangements. An inscription in the north east corner states “10,000 days, 9,300 hours, 33 years of toil”.