In the small village of Hauterives, at the heart of the Drôme hills, one monument has been talked about around the world for over a century. It is here, within a lush garden, that Ferdinand Cheval, known as the Postman Cheval due to his job, built one of the most incredible works of art ever. This masterpiece of outsider art, built by just one man, was listed as a Historic Monument in 1969 by André Malraux as part of the naïve art movement. Even today, the Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace, which is admired by Surrealists like André Breton and Max Ernst, continues to inspire many artists.
Ferdinand Cheval began to build his palace in 1879 using stones he gathered on his rounds. He mainly found inspiration in books he read, nature and the postcards he delivered. The building has carvings of various monuments, mythological figures and animals of the world. Hindu temple, Egyptian tomb, medieval castle, mosque, Swiss chalet, tower of Barbary… Such are the creations that make up the palace. The walls are adorned with quotes and poems, one of which inspired the name of this exceptional work of art. In 1912, the Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace was finally completed, after 33 years’ hard work!
Visit the palace and marvel at its lavish intricacies
DURATION: around 4 hours
START: 09:00 AM