Tourist Sights The Palais Ideal in Drome Countryside France

About the unique tourist sight the Palais Ideal in Drome Countryside, France, description, history and location of the site.




Sight: The Palais Ideal.

There is a plaque on Ferdinand Cheval's Palais Ideal that reads, "If there is anyone more obstinate than I, let him fall to work." Each day for 34 years, Cheval, a diligent postman, walked 18 mi. through the Drome countryside in southern France delivering the mail and collecting colorful stones. After his deliveries were completed, he would work late into the night on his magnificent obsession, an ornate, hand-carved palace, which he completed in 1902. It was an edifice too small to be of any practical use, except perhaps as a residence for elves, but Cheval labored over it for 65,000 hours. He mixed the mortar and sculpted every pillar and portico single-handedly.

Cheval had no training whatsoever in art or architecture, but he maintained that his castle represented "the rebirth of all ancient architectures." Every style and every architectural influence can be seen somewhere among the amazing assembly of tombs, grottoes, turrets, and caryatids. The architect Le Corbusier praised this wild and uninhabitable structure, and the poet Andre Breton claimed the obscure postman as a spiritual ancestor of surrealism.

Location: The Palais Ideal is in the Drome countryside in southeastern France.

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