The Sans Souci Palace

Sans Souci Palace haiti

The Sans Souci Palace, often called the Palace of Versailles of the Caribbean, was the primary royal residence of Henri Christophe, former slave and leader of the Haitian slave revolution, who self-proclaimed the first (and only) king of Haiti in 1811.

The Palace was built from 1810 to 1813. Located at the base of the mountain range in the town of Milot (former french plantation) and just 3 miles (5 km) northeast of The Citadelle, it was the most important among the nine palaces Christophe built during his reign.

The palace had gardens and artificial springs; and was once a site of opulent feasts and parties when it was occupied. Unfortunately an unknown number of workers died during its construction thanks to Christophe’s ruthlessness.

Its name means “carefree” in French, taking its name from another Haitian revolutionary, Jean-Baptiste Sans Souci, the military leader of Christophe. History says that when Christophe and some other military leaders split from the french, they asked Sans Souci to join and this one refused, looking at it as treason. 10 years after the incident, Henri Christophe invited Souci to the headquarters of the Grand Pre Plantation, in the name of peace, but his guards killed him as soon he arrived. Some legends say the palace was built in the same spot where he was killed.

In 1820, King Henri took his own life, after being crippled by a stroke. He shot himself with a silver bullet and was buried at the Citadelle. His son and only heir was killed not too long afterwards.

The Haitian earthquake of 1842 destroyed some parts of the Sans-Souci Palace, and nowadays, the ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with La Citadelle. No visit to Haiti its complete without visiting this historic landmarks.

How to get there:

The Palace is located in Milot, where you will be able to get plenty of guides, tours and taxis that will take you to the steps of the ruins. From there and if you wish, you could resume your hike to the Citadelle.