Tahiti & French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, comprises more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000km. Divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos, they’re known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalow hotels. Island features include white- and black-sand beaches, mountains, rugged backcountry and towering waterfalls. People come to French Polynesia to live it up in stylish resorts, scuba dive in lagoons teeming with tropical fish and indulge in the unique mix of French and Polynesian cuisine.
Papeete, on Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia. Beside the port, busy Place Vai’ete fills with roulottes, or food carts, in the evenings. Nearby, the large Marché de Papeete market sells local produce, fish and handicrafts. The Robert Wan Pearl Museum focuses on the local pearl industry and sells jewellery. A red spire tops the 19th-century Notre Dame Cathedral.