Papeete, French Polynesia

Papeete, French Polynesia

According to abbreviationfinder, Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, the gateway to the beautiful archipelago of Tahiti, whose 118 islands are spread over a vast expanse of sea. Small and cheerful city, located on the island of Tahiti Nui, under whose protection lies its small appendix of Tahiti Iti, both belonging to the so-called “Islands of the Wind.


The area that now constitutes Papeete was colonized by the British William Crook, a missionary from the Missionary Society of London in 1818. Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti moved her court to Papeete and made it her capital in the late 1820s, as the town grew to become one of the major regional shipping hubs. Papeete remains the capital of Tahiti, after France took control of the archipelago and made it a protectorate in 1842. Herman Melville was imprisoned in Papeete in 1842 ; his experiences became the basis for the novel Omoo.Paul Gauguin visited Papeete in 1891 and, with the exception of a two – year period 1893 – 1895, he did not return to France. Robert Louis Stevenson also spent some time in Papeete in 1888.

Half of the town was destroyed by a great fire in 1884, and since then the use of indigenous building materials has been prohibited. A great cyclone caused great damage to the city in 1906. The growth of the city was fueled by the decision to move the nuclear weapons test from Algeria to the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, some 1,500 km east of Tahiti. This originated, in particular, in the development of the city, the only international airport in French Polynesia.

On September 5, 1995, the government of Jacques Chirac resumed the last series of nuclear tests and detonations off the coast of Mururoa (also located in Polynecia). This sparked violent riots for two days that plunged the city into chaos. The protesters, mostly pro-independence, attacked mainly French interests, damaged the international airport, in addition to 40 injured people and the distance from tourism for fear of riots. (Similar riots occurred after the other French nuclear test in the same area in 1987).


There are very busy streets in the city center, traffic can be a problem as the streets are too small. There is a highway that starts near the city center. By air, people use Faaa International Airport. From there you can take Air Tahiti to go to another island in the territory or take a plane like Air Tahiti Nui to go abroad. By sea, take a ferry to go to Moorea Moorea or Bora Bora cruisline to go to Bora Bora. There is also the Le Truck, a wooden bus painted white and trimmed in bright red that runs through the streets of Papeete.


The urban area of Papeete had a total population of 131,695 residents in the August 2007 census. The commune of Papeete is subdivided into eleven quartiers:

  • Manu Hoe – Ute Fare – Motu Uta
  • Patutoa
  • Taunoa
  • Fariipiti
  • Titioro
  • TePapa
  • Faiere
  • PicRouge
  • Tipaerui
  • Paofai
  • Mamao

Geography and climate

Papeete has a tropical monsoon climate with a wet season and a dry season. However, rainfall is observed even in the dry season of the city. The dry season is short in the city, covering only the months of August and September. The rest of the year is humid, with the highest precipitation falling in the months of December and January. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, averaging around 25 degrees Celsius. See French Polynesia facts.


This island handles the euro as its currency and is a producer of vanilla, cotton, coffee and copra (part of the coconut), as well as fantastic handicrafts of snails and corals. The cultivation of black pearls is also a substantial source of income. Most are exported to Japan, Europe and the United States. The Marché Papeete (“Municipal Market”) is a famous landmark in Tahiti. full of life, it sells oils, handicrafts and various souvenir items, native fruits, goldfish, baskets, sarongs and flowers.

In the market, the most careful spice in Polynesia is sold, vanilla, in pods, in tea leaves, in coffee or in oil. It is also traded with noni juice, which cures everything. Famous wood carvings fill the shelves. And on the upper floors the expert “tattooists” are installed, who embellish arms, legs, etc. with the legendary Polynesian tattoos of geometric figures, icons or signs of their tikis gods. At night there are the Roulottes that are mobile restaurants of varied gastronomy: native, Chinese, French, sweet or salty.


Tourists who travel arrive and depart to Papeete via cruise ships or use the domestic airline at Faa’a International Airport, which was completed and opened in 1962. Tahiti receives the most tourists in the ‘Polynesian winter’, between May and October.


  • Papeete City Tour
  • The esplanade facing the sea
  • Bougainville Park (formerly Albert Park, after a former Belgian king, is now named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the first French explorer to circumnavigate the globe.
  • Notre Dame de Papeete Cathedral
  • The Territorial Assembly is the heart of Polynesian government and contains the Territorial Assembly building, the residence of the High Commissioner, as well as a once popular Paul Gauguin clubhouse. It was also once the site of the royal residence and palace of Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti, who ruled from 1827 to 1877.
  • presidential palace
  • The Tahiti Papeete Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • The Monument to Pouvanaa an Oopa
  • La Mairie
  • Papeete market


  • Presidence
  • Papeete Cathedral
  • Temple Paofai

Popular culture

  • Papeete is mentioned in the song Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills and Nash., Somewhere Over China Jimmy Buffett., And “A Hot Midsummer Night” by Chic.
  • Papeete is also mentioned in Bruce Brown’s groundbreaking surf movie The Endless Summer. Papeete Beach is nicknamed “Ins and Outs”, because the steep shore causes the waves to break in two directions: towards the beach and the sea.
  • Papeete is where Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Ebb Tide” begins.
  • Papeete, a schooner built by Matthew Turner, who had large business interests in Tahiti, was known for a 17-day fast passage from San Francisco to Tahiti.


  • Tania Barioz, French alpine skier.
  • Conrrad L. Hall, American filmmaker.
  • Marama Vahirua, Tahitian-French footballer.


Among the fundamental sports are soccer, beach soccer, here the World Cup of this specialty FIFA 2013 was held previously and satisfactorily among others.


Papeete’s name is sometimes spelled Papeete in Tahiti, with the apostrophe to represent the glottal stop, promoted by the Academie Tahitienne and accepted by the territorial government. This apostrophe, however, is often omitted.

Papeete, French Polynesia

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