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You are here : Home > Pictures and tips for a good travel > Polynesia > Tahiti and Papeete

Tahiti - Papeete

"Pictures don't lie, but they aren't enough to express the beauty and the romanticism of Tahiti.
This Southern Pacific legendary island welcome you to Papeete, its capital.
Its harbour, its markets, its gardens and luxuriant vegetation contributed to make it become the residence of Tahitian gods and of the greatest travellers.
Tahiti contains within itself all the Polynesian magic.

To land in Tahiti always constitutes a little event. After a neverending travel, with sleep-fuddled eyes and an heavy jet-lag, the plane door opens just a bit and suddenly you're invaded by an hot and muggy air blow, loaded with sweet perfume, which caresses your body.

Here's you are in Faaa airport. Except for an unforgettable welcome with songs and flowers crowns, there's no more to see in this city, and moreover the inhabitants aren't very much welcoming. In this place doesn't work the saying "Polynesian people are allways welcoming" , but fortunately it's still valid in the rest of Polynesia.

You have to visit first Papeete city centre (pronounce Papété) and then pass through the centre of VAIMA. You'll find there some occidental chain shops, but if you'll look better you'll see a jewellery shop specialized in the manufacture of black pearls (i'm not speaking about those expensive shops which sell black pearls -surely the most beautiful kind of pearl in the world- and that are of some standing). There, you can have have cheaper jewels.


Centre Vaima : galerie marchande au coeur de Papeete
Quelques trucs dans les bouchons de Papeete

Outside the centre you could see some really original trucks. They belong to the local culture and you have to try them. A modest sum (about a hundred of cfp) permits you to visit a big part of the Nort-Eastern of the island. But be careful: they don't have exact time-tables, so watch out for the coming back.

Surely you've noticed the traffic-jam in the picture ! This is becuase it happens often that the city centre is blocked. But usually it doesn't last more than 5 minutes. Besides, i suggest you to rent a car to visit this island thoroughly.

Take your time to have a walk along the harbour. There're lots of shops and bars to see. And if you'll stay in Papeete during the week-end, you'll have the possibility to see some wonderful liners like the ROTTERDAM,

Le rotterdam : un immense paquebot faisant escale à Papeete
Le paquebot Club Med 2 qui passe la moitié de son temps en polynésie francaise

or also the Club Med II.

And all this, while you're caressed by the hot sea air which comes from the open sea (Finally, in front of the harbour there's a trade harbour! But it emits within a radius of 1 km a parfume absolutely good, because of a huge stock of copra, coconut grated pulp).



an obligatory stage: the Papeete market (Mapuru market)
open 7 days a week from 5.30 a.m. to p.m.

According to the access you choose, you can arrive to either to the fish market (wonderful during the morning) ot to the local food market, which sells also flower-based liqueurs, vanilla, exotic fruits,.. Don't hesitate to try some pineapples or bananas. As usual you'll be surrounded by all kinds of heady smells.

Upstairs there are all sorts of touristic souvenirs, as jewels and objects made with shell, superbe pareos, postcards and posters, etc..

Outside, on the side which is parallel to the harbour, there're some small and quiet stands run by some "mamas" who sell really beautiful flowers necklaces. Of course, they don't last a lot and are especially utilized during ceremonies, but they're very nice and make those who wear them very happy.


Le marché de Papeete aux senteurs innoubliables
Mairie de Papeete
If you continue to go on (of some steps) you'll arrive to the town hall. It's a magnificent residence surrounded by a very agreeable garden. Still a perfect place to take a rest.

If you're lucky, you'll also see some women wearing their traditional costumes of ceremony (which underline once more time the importance of the flowers in this culture). The image of the heaven itself, open to everybody and which gives exhilaration with its parfumes.

Démonstration de mariage polynésien par un groupe en provenance directe de Moorea

Another unforgettable show : the polynesian wedding.

You can't miss it.


Well, it's not the most important thing to do, but you should also try to find the time to have a swim.

Honestly, we can't say the tahitian beach are the best in the world, but don't worry: Tahiti is big and you can always find some nice beaches around. And trust me, the water is not bad and the fishes neither.

Example of black sand beach, 5 minutes distance from Papeete centre.



Plage de Fare Ute à Papeete (derrière les chantiers nautiques de Papeete)


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