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Unique of its kind: the temple Palais Idéal by Postman Cheval

Temples we visit all over the world. Visiting them takes us back in time, to the society and period in which they were built. Do you love these kinds of trips? Then take a trip to Palais Idéal in France. This temple was created by just one man who became inspired by nothing more than a stone and a dream he once had. Although little is written about Palais Idéal, it is more remarkable than many temples we know.

This is what makes Palais Idéal unique

In 1879, Ferdinand Cheval was a 43-year-old postman in Hauterives, in Auvergne. One day he stumbled across a stone, which he picked up and admired. The stone reminded him of a dream he had 15 years earlier, in which he built his own palace. A day later, he walked the same postal route, from Hauterives to Tersanne, and picked up more stones.

Ferdinand Cheval did this for 33 years and used the stones to make his dream a reality. He used them to build Palais Idéal. Ferdinand couldn't just look on the internet for examples of temples. Nor did he easily take a trip to Asia to visit temples there. So where did he get his inspiration? Simple: from the postcards and magazines he delivered as a postman.

What story does this temple tell us?

In the eyes of his neighbours, Ferdinand was a village idiot. It is not surprising that they thought so. For a man to spend 33 years at night, in addition to his job as a postman, with the light of only an oil lamp, building a palace that he had dreamt about years before, and for the construction to be triggered by stumbling over a stone that he turned out to like, is of course not a typical story.

But it is a beautiful story. It is about someone literally bringing his dream to reality, on his own, without the support of others. It is about dedication and about working hard to get something done. About believing in yourself, even if the people around you don't. Fortunately, he eventually received recognition for his creation. Just before Ferdinand's death, great artists like Picasso spoke out about it.

In 1879, a 43-year-old postman started building this temple. It was completed 33 years later.

I want to visit this temple!

A big advantage of Palais Idéal for culture lovers, is that it is relatively close to the Netherlands. Located in Hauterives, Drôme, you can get there with 10 hours' drive. You visit the temple all year round, except during holidays and on Sundays and public holidays. Included in the ticket you buy is a visit to the museum. There you will learn more about Ferdinand, the construction of the temple and artists like André Breton, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. Do you like interactive visits or are you visiting the temple with kids and want them to get the most out of it? Both kids and adults can take tours and learn more about Palace Ideal in creative ways.

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