Sans Souci, Haiti's version of Neuschwanstein?Far fetched, perhaps, but I couldn't help drawing that parallel. After all, Sans Souci and Neuschwanstein each had a mildly megalomaniac king as their visionary. Henri Christophe created Sans Souci, and Bavaria's King Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein. (Contrary to popular belief, Neuschwanstein was not built by Disney). After a rollercoaster reign, each king died in dramatic circumstances. Henri Christophe is said to have shot himself with a silver bullet.
The good news is that those two narcissistic royals left us with an incredibly beautiful inheritance. Sans Souci's ruins still convey much of the lavish grandeur the palace must have possessed before it was partially destroyed in one of Haiti's severe earthquakes in 1842. In fact in its heyday it was described as the Caribbean equivalent of Versailles. Like the nearby Citadelle [http://www.afar.com/places/citadelle-grandanse] Sans Souci has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1982.
The ruins are crumbling, but full of stories and beauty. Slow down, and take in this magical place. When I wandered around, there were a bunch of giggly and playful school kids making their way home right through the palace grounds–new and old worlds colliding gently.
Warmest thanks to my incredible guide Anne-Rose, with Ayiti Tours (http://caribbeantours.info/en/haiti-tours), for her competence and brilliant knowledge of Haiti's past and present.