Ferdinand Cheval Palais Idéal ..Cheval began the building in April 1879. He claimed that he had tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal. He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.