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It has been proposed that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of an art. By that definition, Ferdinand Cheval was something of a super master of the art of eccentric building.

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Rising like a Hindu temple or medieval castle, Le Palais Ideal was the work of one man, a local postman who became inspired by stones he picked up on his daily route. For 33 years Ferdinand Cheval built his dream castle with his own hands, often working alone, at night.

The postman is buried nearby, in a similarly spectacular tomb he built for himself at the local cemetery.

Of course Cheval is far from alone. The world is positively filled with extraordinary self built castles from Bishop's Castle to the Tower of Eben-Ezer, Coral Castle to Nitt Witt Ridge. It seems that the drive to create something magical an unique that will live on after one has left is universal.

Inscribed at the Palais are humble words of a man driven to build out of passion. He wrote, "Everything you can see, passer-by, is the work of one peasant, who, out of a dream, created the queen of the world."

SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR WEEKENDS? LE PALAIS IDEAL, Hauterives, France

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