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French Polynesia, Society Islands, Tahiti, South Seas, Town Hall, Mairie de Papeete in Papeete on Tahiti Nui Peninsula

Papeete, French Polynesia

Papeete, on the island of Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia and is the largest island in this chain. With a population of over 136,000 inhabitants, French is the main language used in the city, followed by Tahitian.  A bustling, lively city with colorful market, parks, shops and cafes, you can buy fresh fish, sarongs, vanilla beans or pearls among other delights. A waterfront promenade with music and food, and a multicultural population add to the city’s allure. Papeete, meaning “water basket” was once the place where Tahitians came to collect fresh water. Polynesian culture, its art, and the history of the island that includes French nuclear weapons testing and the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, can be explored in various museums and cultural centers. With the capital situated on the coast, this means most of the island’s inhabitants are also residing near the shore. The interior of Tahiti is mountainous and rugged with cascading waterfalls, caves and lush foliage.