French Polynesia

 French Polynesia
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French Polynesia in pictures + French Polynesia

  • French Polynesia

    Scattered across the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, about 10,000 miles away from the UK, the five archipelagos of French Polynesia are nothing short of an untainted paradise. Images of wooden bungalows perched on stilts above a turquoise sea are now famous worldwide and consistently associated with this stunning holiday destination. Ideal for romantic getaways and lazy holidays, the 118 islands and atolls also offer lots of activities for sport and nature lovers such as hiking, swimming and sunset picnics. There are also lots of exotic deserted beaches to explore in complete tranquility. If you travel to French Polynesia you can explore it by boat, on horseback, on foot or by 4x4, you just need to decide where you'll head first!
    Discover French Polynesia French Polynesia

In brief +

Area
621 sq.mi
Population
265,000 inhabitants
Capital
Taiohae
Visa
No
Vaccinations
No
Currency
CFP franc
Languages
French,
tahitian,
English

Travel to French Polynesia

map French Polynesia map French Polynesia
Scattered across the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, about 10,000 miles away from the UK, the five archipelagos of French Polynesia are nothing short of an untainted paradise. Images of wooden bungalows perched on stilts above a turquoise sea are now famous worldwide and consistently associated with this stunning holiday destination. Ideal for romantic getaways and lazy holidays, the 118 islands and atolls also offer lots of activities for sport and nature lovers such as hiking, swimming and sunset picnics. There are also lots of exotic deserted beaches to explore in complete tranquility. Polynesia can be explored by boat, on horseback, on foot or by 4x4, you just need to decide where you'll head first!
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    Our Editorial team's advice

    French Polynesia is a paradise made up of five archipelagos situated some 10,500 miles from the French mainland in the heart of the South Pacific. An idyllic location for beach weddings and honeymoons, many tour operators offer reduced rates to newly married couples. Hotel accommodation here usually comes in chalet form, ranging from three-star bungalows to five-star luxury cabins. Tahiti is one of the most popular dream holiday destinations across the globe, with its luscious natural surroundings and turquoise waters. Whether you want an activity holiday or to do absolutely nothing and relax, the islands will have everything you need. Moorea and Bora Bora are perfect for seaside or boat holidays. Given its island location, there will be chances to try freshly-caught seafood wherever you go on the island. The Tuamotu Archipelago is particularly famous for its natural beauty and its good snorkeling and scuba-diving spots. If you visit the southern islands you will get the chance to get back in touch with nature, taking long walks in the dense green forest and up and down the steep mountains. They are also the perfect place for cycling enthusiasts. Last but not least are the Marquesas Islands. This group of islands is a mix of stunning natural beauty of its landscapes, thriving marine life and a rich cultural history. If you want a truly authentic holiday, opt to stay with a host family. Normally you will stay in a fare, a type of traditional house made of bamboo. This is the best option if you really want to immerse yourself in the culture. Also note that when paying for anything, the currency in French Polynesia is the franc and not the euro. In terms of the weather, the hottest period between November and Mars is also frequented with rainy spells. Therefore it's better booking your trip sometime between May and October. Amongst the countless activities offered by the island's hotels, don't miss out on a mini sailing boat-cruise (these are best done during the day or at sunset), where you will be met with stunning panoramas of the lagoon. You also have the option of hiring boats without captains, all dependent on your ability level of course!

    Traditions

    French Polynesia combines local traditions with influences from French culture. From traditional dance and drumming to wood carving, tattooing and even firewalking, you will get to see and learn about many of French Polynesia's local traditions and customs.

    Food

    ShoppingPolynesian handicrafts are famous for their diversity and attention to detail. The islands' residents have worked with wood for centuries and are masters in making pearl jewellery. Wooden sculptures of tiki warriors can now be found all over the world, but are native to French Polynesia. In terms of what you should bring home with you, decorative trinkets, pearl jewellery, seashell necklaces, monoi-based cosmetics, the famous wicker hats, wreaths woven with coconut and pandanu leaves, and printed fabrics (usually worn in various styles by the Polynesian women and found in specialist shops across the islands) are all good ideas. Pearls are one of the islands' biggest exports, either sold individually or as part of a necklace or bracelet. Make sure you seek the advice of a specialist pearl-dealer when making your choice. Our recommendation is to go for rounded pearls in category B or C (prices start from around 110). If your budget doesn't stretch to the superior pearls, category A ones are around 20. Another good keepsake is a bottle of vanilla extract, which is small and therefore can be easily stored in your suitcase.

    Souvenirs

    Polynesian handicrafts are famous for their diversity and attention to detail. The islands' residents have worked with wood for centuries and are masters in making pearl jewellery. Wooden sculptures of tiki warriors can now be found all over the world, but are native to French Polynesia. In terms of what you should bring home with you, decorative trinkets, pearl jewellery, seashell necklaces, monoi-based cosmetics, the famous wicker hats, wreaths woven with coconut and pandanu leaves, and printed fabrics (usually worn in various styles by the Polynesian women and found in specialist shops across the islands) are all good ideas. Pearls are one of the islands' biggest exports, either sold individually or as part of a necklace or bracelet. Make sure you seek the advice of a specialist pearl-dealer when making your choice. Our recommendation is to go for rounded pearls in category B or C (prices start from around 110). If your budget doesn't stretch to the superior pearls, category A ones are around 20. Another good keepsake is a bottle of vanilla extract, which is small and therefore can be easily stored in your suitcase.

    French Polynesia: Sightseeing

    Areas in French Polynesia

    French Polynesia : Discover our cities

    French Polynesia in pictures

    Discover the destination of French Polynesia through the 188 photos and explore the most beautiful attractions to visit during your trip to French Polynesia.

    • Carlos RodriguesTahiti - Papeete

      Tahiti - Papeete - French Polynesia
    • Ralph Braumer / age fotostock;Taiohae

      Taiohae - French Polynesia
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    • Tahiti - Papeete - French Polynesia
    • Taiohae - French Polynesia
    • Bora Bora - Vaitape - French Polynesia
    • Nuku Hiva - French Polynesia
    • Nuku Hiva - French Polynesia
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    French Polynesia in pictures

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      Francesca Long Section editor

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    • French Polynesia Weather

      4-day weather forecast
      •  Papeete Papeete 27°C | 27°C 27°C 28°C 28°C 27°C 
      •  Bora Bora Bora Bora 28°C | 29°C 29°C 29°C 29°C 28°C 

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