Cheval’s Perfect Castle and the Story of Ferdinand the Postman

The Ideal Palace of Cheval

How to fulfill your dream and build the most real castle out of ordinary stones on the road? At the same time found a new architectural style and make it a cultural monument for the whole world!

Ferdinand Cheval would have died an ordinary French letter carrier if he hadn’t worked hard and realized his dream. And his dream was global and is still a joy to the eyes of a large number of people.

The Ideal Palace of Cheval
Facade of the Cheval Palace

This man began his career at the post office in the town of Otrive, where he had come with his wife from Charm-sur-l’Airbasse in the Drôme department. He was then thirty years old.

One day a man was walking along the sidewalk and a boulder came under his feet. That encounter was fatal. Because our hero did not throw it away and go on, but picked it up and began to stare intently. He was attracted by the unusual shape of the stone and its color, after which Cheval’s life made sense.

Cheval Palace entrance for tourists
Entrance for tourists

Moreover, before that, the man’s wife died and his son was taken away by his relatives because in their opinion he could not properly take care of the child.

Every day during his walks to work (he had no bicycle or other transportation), he would collect the same stones of unusual color and pile them into a slide. Over time, that slide became the beginning of something big.

How the Perfect Castle of Ferdinand Cheval was built

The work went on leisurely, and the project was not on paper – only in Cheval’s mind. It’s hard to say what style the building belongs to, it’s mostly crazy eclectic. It’s a rough style and there will be a lot of buildings like that after that. And Cheval was the first.

Cheval outside his castle

The creator used the stone to create scenes from Biblical mythology, various cultures and the lives of figures. It was fantasy running riot, although it is unclear where he got these images.

Details of the Cheval castle

The letter carrier told his new wife that this lock was “for her”.

The man pulled construction materials day and night, in between his main job.

It took him 33 years of painstaking work to complete the construction. He did not only the exterior walls, but also the interior finishes, and in the smallest detail. It was Cheval who did everything with his own hands, even coming up with innovations. This is admired by tourists today. Inside the castle there is a church and a mosque, and around the palace fountains, stairs, fantastic sculptures.

sculptures of cheval's perfect castle

Cheval died in 1924. On the facade of the building after his death they wrote in big letters “10,000 days, 93,000 hours, 33 years”. It is a reminder that dreams can and should be fulfilled with one’s own hands.

Similarities of Cheval Castle in the world

Similar castles, like Cheval’s Castle, exist in other parts of the world as well. They were also built by inspired loners and their creations became places of travel and beauty after the death of their creators.

For example, in Ukraine in Dnepropetrovsk region there is the House of the Architect (Architect’s House) or House Hlyapatura – after the talented Ukrainian engineer who built it.

In Lutsk there is a house with chimeras, or architect Golovan. It also has its own unique style and many sculptures created by the hands of one man.

The Perfect Château de Cheval – Cultural Heritage of France

Officials for a long time did not want to recognize this rude and strange palace as something special. It wasn’t until 1969 that it was given heritage status and guided tours. In 1975, the government began to protect the tomb of the letter carrier, called “The Shrine of Silence and Infinite Rest”.

Where is Cheval Castle and how much does it cost to enter

Chateau Cheval is located in the town of Otriv, in the department of Drom. Since the city has no rail transport, you will have to go either by own or rented car, or by bus.

The lock has its own operating time and it depends on the time of year:The lock has its own operating time and it depends on the time of year:

  • December-January – 9:30-16:30;
  • February-March and October-November – 9:30-17:30 a.m;
  • April-June and September – 9:30-18:30 a.m;
  • July-August 9:30-19:00 a.m.

The entrance costs 8 euros for adults and 4 euros for children. It is possible to take an audioguide for an additional fee.

Jenya Travels

My name is Jenya. I travel around Ukraine and the world and tell stories.
In simple language, without nerdiness and dry facts - interesting about uninteresting places.
I have been to more than 100 places on the map!

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