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This is one of the first places you see when you come to Tahiti because this is where the airport is. Most people land here at night and leave Papeete in the morning to go on to another island. Its actually cheaper to stay in Papeete than on any other island.
Its busy here, somewhat crowded but thats was ok with me. This is where you will find the Municipal Market and tons of restaurants. It was alittle difficult here because the dominant language is French or Tahitian. Other than in the hotels, English is spoken very rarely or not as much. But people do try to be very helpful and somehow we are understood and we understand.
Its an interesting place to visit and so much different than when you are on the other islands. The locals are all over the place, students getting out of classes, women doing their shopping. What I noticed here is that the young people like to walk around with their ipods attached to their portable stations and blast their music. It was alittle odd seeing that. It was kind of like in the 80's here in LA when the kids would walk around with their ghetto blaster.
Pearl Museum (Musée de la Perle)
The museum was created in 1998 by Robert Wan, a very famous black pearl specialist in Polynesia.
Various panels in the museum explain the importance of pearls throughout history and the process of pearl making. You’ll find various displays as well, showing how a pearl farm looks like, or divers in the Tuamotu islands (supposedly the best divers in the world as they can stay 3 minutes long underwater !).
The museum is part of the “Tahiti Perles” shop, where you can admire some of the nicest set of pearls and jewel creations of the Robert Wan collection.
Museum is free and opened Monday through Saturday from 9.30 am till 5pm (last entrance at 4.15 pm). Closed on Sunday and holidays.
Bougainville Park is a tropical garden near the Post Office with a playground for kids and benches for the parents to wait :-)
At the entrance of the park, you will notice a sculpture of Louis Antoine de Bougainvile, the French sailor and explorer who claimed Tahiti in the name of king Louis XV in 1768.
Another place to buy stuffs ;-)
An agreable place to wander, between luxury shops and "haute couture" boutiques. On several floors, you’ll find a lot of souvenir shops as well as a drug store, book shops, a movie theatre, a travel agency, etc…
A place where you'll find all kinds of handicrafts like jewels, hats, etc...
I particularly liked the bracelets and necklaces made of shells and oyster nacres.
I really loved strolling between the stalls in the early morning.
Le Marché Municipal - The Covered Market
7000 sq meters of Polynesian authenticity in a busy capital !!
Big covered market selling everything from local food to clothes, flowers, spices, soaps and all kinds of souvenirs (often made in Taiwan or China...:-/ Check the origin before you buy them...).
From the first floor, you've got a great view on the colorful stalls and the people buzzing around.
Nice atmosphere and fragrances
The market opens from 4 am till 6 pm.
The City Hall
Beautiful pink and yellow building of neocolonial style (made of concrete, wood and tiles). Surrounded by an agreable garden adorned with several ponds and huge sculptures.
Inside, you can admire the carved-glass canvas representing the city’s history, and its huge rococo-style elevator.
The city-hall is a 3-time bigger reproduction of the queen's castle, that used to stand on Place Tarahoi.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Immaculée Conception
The building of this beautiful cathedral started in 1856.Granite blocs were brought from the Gambier islands to build the thick walls. Unfortunately it had to be abandonned after a year of work, due to a lack of financial means. It was finally torn down in 1867. A new but smaller one was then build in 1869 (40 m long and 15 m wide instead of 50 long and 20 m wide) and finished 6 years later.
The Waterfront Promenade
The Waterfront Promenade stretches from Place Toata to Place Vaiete along Boulevard Pomare, which is one of the main roads of the city.
A walk that could be nice if it were not for the traffic and car smells all along…
The landscape on the seeside is quite appealing, with a beautiful view on Sister island Moorea in the distance and the huge elegant ships mooring in the harbour.
The Marché Municipale (public market) is the heart of Papeete. It's a very colourful market that you should not miss when you are visiting Papeete. Here you can find local fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish, meat but also locally made products and souvenirs. You won't find them any cheaper elsewhere.
The busy, bustling town of Papeete, on Tahiti's north coast, is the capital of French Polynesia.
The town still has the provincial charm of a French colonial capital - whitewashed houses, buildings of painted wood with large verandahs and corrugated tin roofs, narrow street, parks and an outdoor market.
Papeete is designed for walking. The sidewalks and avenues are lined with vendors. A stroll through town and along the quay must be done in a leisurely manner and taken with several rest breaks at the many outdoors cafes and snack bars on Boulevard Pomare.
Tahiti Travel Guide
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