Palace ideal – the main sight in Hauterives – France

      France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with a rich cultural tradition and sights. Palaces and castles built by renowned architects for no less famous persons are the hallmarks of this hospitable country. But there are masterpieces unknown to the general public, I will tell you about one of them today. 

 You will be impressed by Palace Ideal

At 70 km from the city of Lyon, the second largest city in France is a small settlement of Hauterives which became famous for the simple postman Ferdinand Cheval.
For the construction of the Perfect Castle for compatibility, Monsieur Cheval stumbled on a stone. Having picked it up and examined it, Monsieur Cheval admires the natural beauty of the cobblestone. Taking it as a godsend, he realized that he must leave this world to something beautiful. And so began the construction of buildings, which absorbed all the architectural styles and trends, closely intertwined with biblical and mythical subjects.
The construction of the ideal castle lasted 33 years from 1879 to 1912. The poor man collects stones daily and carried them into his garden in the pockets of his clothes. Only 8 years after the start of construction, he was able to purchase a cart, which made his work much easier.

The result of his work surpassed all expectations — biblical scenes, Egyptian pyramids, Hindu temples, Swiss chalets, Arabic mosaics, statues, towers, fortress elements, flirty balconies, and balustrades — all merged into an intricate and intricate stone dance.


 The size of the castle is amazing – 26 meters long, 14 meters wide and up to 10 meters high. On the construction of only the outer walls of the castle, Monsieur Cheval, took two decades. The walls of the palace, both outside and inside, are decorated with inscriptions, the most important of which is the message of the little man of the world: “33 years of struggle, 10 thousand days, 93 thousand hours, if someone thinks he can do better, then let him try” As far as I know, nobody accepted this challenge.
The glory of an unusual creation flew in front of its creator and outstanding figures of world art, such as Pablo Picasso and Andre Breton, expressed their respect and recognition of the work of Ferdinand Cheval.
Ferdinand Cheval died at the age of 88 in 1924, but the creation of his life is still alive. And thousands of people from all over the world come to Hauterives to see for themselves that the impossible is possible to express their admiration and respect for the perseverance, work, and strength of mind of a simple little person.
In 1969, the palace, and later the tomb, where Monsieur Cheval was buried, were recognized as historical and cultural monuments at the official level.
Finish the story Ideally, the castle would like from the book of American writer Jacqueline Syssan, author of the best-selling book “Valley of Dolls”: “You can not give up a dream without trying it.”


Where to spend the night in Hauterives

The city is small, so the choice of hotels is also small. I advise you to book rooms in advance, because local hotels are usually crowded, especially in high season. In fact, the classic version of the hotel is only one – this is the Hotel Le Relais, located 300 meters from the Ideal Castle, the main attraction of the city of Hauterives. This is a two-star hotel, located in a typical old stone house in this area and offers free parking and WiFi. For an additional fee, you can order a continental breakfast. The cost of a double room is about 100 euros.

Other options for hotels in Hauterives work on the principle of B & B. These are places like:

  • Duplex
  • Villa Eugenie
  • Chez la Antiquare

All these places also offer free parking and WiFi but at the cost of living a little cheaper than at the hotel and is 60-70 euros.

If you are traveling by car, then there is the most suitable place to travel to visit the Perfect Castle, then five kilometers from the main A7 highway you can stay in the network of hotels operating around the clock, such as:

  • Ibis Saint Ramblert de Albon
  • Campanile Chanas
  • Hotel Balladins Lyon / Chanas
  • Hotel Mercure Vienne Sud Chanas

The cost of living for a double room is 40-80 euros, depending on the class of the hotel and the season. The distance to the Perfect Castle in  Hauterives is 20 km.

Food and Drink in Hauterives

As I mentioned, the city is small, all the restaurants are located near the main city attractions. Local specialties are ravioli, which can be found in the menu of almost all restaurants. So my rating of restaurants:

La Galaure

La Galaure is the castle’s ideal restaurant, where you can have breakfast or lunch. The menu is quite extensive, includes steaks, pizza, spaghetti, and ice cream. Due to its location, this institution is in demand among tourists. Service is fast. Prices are moderate.

Le Relais

Another place worth visiting is the restaurant at the aforementioned Le Relais hotel. This is one of the most popular places, in the evening it is better to book a table. The terrace of the restaurant offers a beautiful view. Friendly staff and hospitable owner – you will always be greeted with a smile and pleasure. Prices are slightly above average, you can find both meat and fish in the menu. Serving dishes is beautiful, the cook tries.

La Terrasse

If, suddenly, while in France you miss the hamburgers, then you have a direct route to La Terrasse. Simple hearty and abundant food, classic French desserts. You will definitely not be hungry. The cost is moderate, the staff is friendly. Pleasure guaranteed.

Auberge du Moulin

Another place that I think is noteworthy is located in the nearby town of Saint Sorlin en Valloire, about 11 km from Hauterives. Restaurant Auberge du Moulin hid in the shade of trees. Simple home interior, simple home cooking. In cooking, local produce is used and this affects the menu, which changes according to the season. You can choose a set of dishes at a fixed price of 26.9 euros, which includes traditional French dishes or choose from the menu. Many dishes are prepared according to family recipes handed down from generation to generation. For vegetarians, too, there are positions in the menu. In general, this is a very nice place where you will be fed and will talk with pleasure.

 How to get to the Palace Ideal

Адрес: Hauterives, Rue Du Palais, 8

Official website:

The nearest major city is Lyon, located about 70 km from the sights. The most convenient way to get there is by car or buses with transfers. There is no railway connection in the city. The nearest railway station is located in Saint-Valle, 21 km from the city of Hauterives.

Near the castle. there is a large free parking. In summer and early autumn there are a lot of people here, so if you walk in peace and quiet to enjoy a walk, it is better to come in low season, besides, the castle is open all year round, taking a break for Christmas and New Year.

Cost of attendance:          7.5 euros – adult

                                             5 euro – children

                                             2 euro – the audio guide

Between April and September, free 20-minute tours in French are held at the castle.


Hi! I’m Alex. I am 35 years old, 8 of which I am professionally engaged in photography. Travelling is my passion! I love discovering new places, admiring world-famous landmarks and finding beauty in detail. Nature, architecture, life and history are my areas of interest. I constantly participate in national and international photo contests and show consistently good results. In 2012, in Lugano in the Russian cultural center held my personal exhibition, warmly welcomed by the public! For a long time I have accumulated enough material and I would like to share it with the world!