"Ou le songe devient la realite."

Where the dream becomes reality.

- Ferdinand Cheval


   - Cheval Biography

   - Online Resources

   - Folk Art Environments

   - Books and Catalogs

   - Directions, Hours, etc.


   - Best of the Bunch

   - East Facade

   - West Facade

   - Terrace

   - Inscriptions

   - Other Photos



Welcome to the online home of FACTEUR CHEVAL'S PALAIS IDEAL.

This site is dedicated to Facteur Ferdinand Cheval -- an uneducated mailman who was moved to build the palace of his childhood imagination after stumbling across one beautiful stone in the road. Facteur ("mailman" in French) Cheval is one of the most inspiring people I have discovered and I was fortunate enough to visit his Palais Ideal in the village of Hauterives, France, in May 2001. I took these photographs with this site in mind, and I have translated some of his poems and inscriptions. The Official Site has basic information as well.

Click the image at the top to return to this page from any of the others. Click on any image on the site for an enlargement. Many also get even bigger when you click on the enlargement (if the cursor turns into a magnifying glass).



There is a short biography of Cheval, but most of the site contains briefly annotated photographs of his stone palace (beware sluggish web connections: many are 1 MB or more). All quotes at the top of the pages are from Cheval. There are also several links to other folk art environments online and resources you can explore if you would like to know more about this type of art. Practical information is included in case you plan to visit.



Folk art environments are the most substantial and unusual creations by those considered Outsider Artists. They are structures and worlds that range in size from a front yard grotto to more than 25 acres of structures and statues. They allow you to walk through and disappear into the unique interior world of the artist. The most widely accepted criteria for outsider artists are as follows:

  • The artists are unaware of artistic traditions, lack professional training, and have no interest in infiltrating the professional art world.
  • They create from an inner need rather than for an outside audience. Their art stems from personal visions rather than family or cultural traditions.
  • They often work in isolation and live outside mainstream society. Some are mental patients, recluses, or eccentrics, though categorizing all outsider artists this way isn't accurate.



All materials © Kristin Fiore 2001 - 2010. Use without permission strictly encouraged.