Palais Idéal in France. Cheval began the building in April 1879. Ferdinand Cheval was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le palais idéal du facteur Cheval (the "Ideal Palace") in Hauterives, France. The postman was 78 when he completed his palace of pebbles. With no knowledge of architecture, this humble postman built this temple of wonder using the imagery he saw on postcards of temples and palaces that he delivered.. and used rocks he picked up on his postal route faithfully pushing a wheelbarrow around with him every day.