Pétion-Ville is a commune and a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the hills east and separate from the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. Founded in 1831 by then president Jean-Pierre Boyer, it was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion (1770–1818), the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country’s four founding fathers. The district is primarily a residential and touristic area. It held a population of 283,052 at the 2003 Census, which was officially estimated to have reached 376,834 in 2015. Many diplomats, foreign businessmen, and a large number of wealthy citizens do business and reside in Pétion-Ville.
Despite the distance from the capital and the general affluence of the district, the lack of administrative enforcement has led to the formation of shantytowns on the outer edges of the district, as poor locals migrate upward and have settled there in search of job opportunities.
Culture and nightlife
The gated and privately guarded neighborhoods of Pétion-Ville resemble a Haitian version of Beverly Hills, but with barbed wire. The community is very stable, with nightlife and business conducted with an appearance of western normality, in striking contrast to many other parts of greater Port-au-Prince.
The hillside suburban town is filled with nightclubs, beauty salons, fitness gyms and restaurants. Businesses which cater to tourists are commonplace, and parties and get-togethers often take place at night. Establishments often host considerable expatriates and foreigners of a similar calibre.
The “El Rancho” hotel is in Pétion-Ville. It was built from the private estate of Albert Silvera, a sports and luxury car collector who was one of the pioneers of Haiti’s hotel industry.
The Club de Pétion-Ville country club was built in the 1930s and has Haiti’s only golf course, a nine-hole course. It also contains tennis courts and swimming pools. The “Club de Pétion-Ville” is not in the suburb of Pétion-Ville but is located in the northwest of the foothills.