The Bodacious Belgrade Blog

March 24, 2009

Ferdinand Cheval: Eccentric Nut Or Visionary Genius?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bunitingi @ 10:09 pm

Clearly i have a thing for guys who spend their life toiling away at their artistic dream, unrewarded but for the sake of the craft itself. I wonder why.

So, in southern France,  in the village of Hauterives back in 1879, there lived this postman named Ferdinand Cheval. His mail route was 32 kilometers, which he would walk every day, day in day out, delivering the mail. One day he tripped over a rock. He picked up the rock, looked at it, and thought it was just amazing. It reminded him of dreams of castles and palaces he used to have years earlier. He took the rock home with him.

From then on he started collecting rocks. Every day he would pick up more and more rocks and bring them home. After a while he would pile rocks he found at spots along his route and then come back at night to collect them. Eventually he scraped money together and bought a wheelbarrow, which became his most prized possession (he was buried with it), and with which he could cart home even MORE rocks. Piles of these rocks littered his yard.

His neighbors in the village thought he was a nutbag. One day he took his rock collection and began building with them. When asked what he was building, he declared “a palace.”

Now his neighbors were convinced he was nuts and would refer to him as the village idiot on occasion.

Ferdinand spent the next 33 years collecting rocks and building his Palace.

THIS is what he built:



This thing RULES. As of today this man is my new hero.


He wrote inscriptions all over it. One in the northeast corner says : “10,000 days, 93,000 hours, 33 years of toil”





All can perhaps hope is that one day, after my death, some shmoe with a blog will pose the question: Paul Shapera, Musical Awesomeness or Total Wanker? And perhaps, will decide for the former.

Naturally, after his DEATH (as is the artist’s fate) in 1924 he was finally given his props and in 1969 the French government declared the palace, called Le Palais Ideal, a historic landmark.

Never the less, Ferdinand Cheval, you sir, rule. My hats off to you. I can only hope to follow in your footsteps.



1 Comment »

  1. “I wonder why.”

    ROFL. You & me both.

    I can’t believe that thing survived both world wars. Whereas the bigass fossil wall my great-grandfather built in front of his house out in west Texas is long gone. We like to plow over our history here.

    Comment by matthew — March 25, 2009 @ 3:44 am | Reply

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