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champs de mars

Desalines Monument in Downtown Port-au-Prince
Set stoically atop a handsome steed, the statue of Jean-Jacques Desalines bears every bit the exalted “Father Of A Nation” status you’d expect from the only person to have a holiday celebrated in his honor in Haiti. The statue is the centerpiece of a collection of memorials honoring Haiti's heroes set in the Le Champs de Mars area of downtown Port-au-Prince.

Here, big, broad boulevards intersect among a series of squares, parks, and wide open spaces, each bearing statues of Haiti’s legendary statesmen creating what's easily the most impressive public space I've come across along my Caribbean travels.

I got to tour around Champs de Mars on my last visit to Haiti in early-December 2017 while staying at the Marriott Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s newest and nicest hotel sits just a few blocks from the area, though walking to Champs de Mars from the Marriott isn’t advisable. What little sidewalk space exists between the two is jammed with locals selling all manner of goods along the road. There’s really just no room to walk until you get to Champs de Mars.

Take a taxi then enjoy the sights, history, and local art for sale all throughout the various squares and parks.