Place d'Armes


Cap's pretty main square, bordered on the southern side by the Notre-Dame cathedral on Rue 18, has a dark past. François Mackandal, leader of a pre-revolutionary guerrilla slave war, was burned at the stake here in 1758. Subsequent revolutionary Vincent Ogé was broken on the wheel here in 1791. But nowadays things seem extremely relaxed, at least during the daytime: benches clustered around a small statue of Jean-Jacques Dessalines are invariably occupied by students and other friendly chillers.

At night, the scene comes alive into a huge block party, with breakdancing kids and DIY roulette wheels. BYOB for a seriously locals-only vibe, but be prepared for some hassle if you don't pass for Haitian. This is not a place frequented by foreigners, especially after sunset. If you want to check it out at night, get a moto-taxi there, and have him wait for you while you have a look. After hours, solo foreign women should avoid altogether.

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