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Travel: Papeete, Tahiti, Lay-over May 20&21 + June 1/2022

This is the 19th and final post of a trip to Tahiti, which started (here) on May 10/2022 (

before and after the Aranui 5 Cruise to the Marquesas Islands (May21-June 1)

(Cruise posting starts here )

Back on the Ferry from Moorea to Papeete (May 20th )

Arriving at Papeete's Ferry Terminal

Our first priority when arriving midday, at Papeete's Ferry terminal, was to get rid of the luggage, which we placed at the Sarah Nui (a modest hotel, near-by the Ferry, adequate for a short overnight transitional stay) and then took the required Antigen test.

The corona testing at the local pharmacy near the main Municipal Market, was swift, and efficient.

20 minutes later, assured of the "negative" results, required for boarding the Aranui freighter cruise. to the Marquesas Islands, (on the following day) we sufficiently relieved to explore the center of this small hot, humid, hub town

Wondering in Papeete's Center

At the pharmacy we also re-united with our dear friends Ina and Bruce

We lured them to join us the cruise,

and they spontaneously did, at the last minute, only 2 weeks before the trip's departure.

Later that evening we all enjoyed a great dinner at Le Sully restaurant

at the center of Papeete,

The next challenging task, of this short afternoon in Papeete, was searching for an adhesive to glue the unexpectedly detached shoe-soles of David's both rubber Teva sandals.

It took some wondering in the center's streets, which are mainly loaded with touristic commercial trinkets stores, but eventually the right adhesive was found, and David's provisional shoe-repairing skills, stood the test.

The visit to the market, however, was a shocking experience

The 155-year-old public market called Le Marché. is located 2 blocks from the waterfront in the heart of Papeete.

My earlier recollections, from the visit back 20 years ago, of the the 2 stories Market

was of an authentic Polynesian fabulous, wooden curved interior, with many small stores selling beautifully wooden carved furniture and artifacts.

But the current metal painted in red facility, packed with food stalls and trinket stands, is far, and most non-appealing, from what it once was.

Furthermore the prices of the merchandise on display has high rocketed and curbs one's enthusiasm to bother wondering through the place.

The lower level is filled with vegetable stalls and of stands offering Tahitian-made crafts, oils, vanilla, fruits, and flowers. Upstairs is reserved for artisans selling pareos, carvings, Tifaifai wall hangings and quilts, embroidered cushion covers, and other handicrafts. as well as black pearl jewelry - the signature commodity of the town.

More about the Town

Papeete combines together French Polynesia's main institutions such as the High Commission, the government of French Polynesia with its president, the Territorial Assembly of French Polynesia, as well as the Economic, Social and Cultural Council.

Assembly Complex

The High Commissioner's residence once the popular clubhouse of Paul Gauguin. and the Assembly building, which was also once the site of the royal residence and palace of Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti, who ruled from 1827 to 1877. are all in sight.

The beautiful Garden by the Assembly complex is worth the walk through

There are also the major infrastructures of French Polynesia such as the Autonomous Port of Papeete, fuel depots, the territorial hospital, private clinics and most industrial and economic infrastructure,, as well as banking and financial institutions.

During World War I Papeete was shelled by German vessels, causing loss of life and significant damage.

The growth of the city was boosted by the decision to move the French nuclear weapon test range from Algeria, which had become independent, to the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa, some 1,500 km (930 mi) to the east of Tahiti .

The construction of the Faa'a International Airport, the only international airport in French Polynesia, near Papeʻete. had change the Town's stand.

Paoeete is now the hub of French Polynesian tourism .

Shopping malls, cinemas, department stores, art galleries, a central hospital, and numerous restaurants are easily to be found in the city

The streets of the town center are very busy, and traffic is a problem since they are very narrow

The local tourist attractions by the waterfront esplanade, were Jacques Chirac square, Vaiēte Square, town's municipality, Black Pearl Museum Cathedrale de L'lmmaculee the old Vai’ami hospital, the Queen’s Basin, the House of Queen Marau, , and its cannons the Temple of Pā’ōfa’i, and the Robert Wan Pearl Museum

Along the Water Front

At the elongated Verdant Park by the waterfront

Bougainville Park (once named Albert Park, in honor of a former Belgian king and World War One hero), is now named for Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the first French explorer to circumnavigate the globe.

Stretching from To'Ata Square to Vaiete Square, Paofai Gardens (Waterfront Esplanade) is an area great for scenic strolling. and boats sailing full of vendors selling fresh juices, popcorn, and French pastries, in the park.

Before becoming the Jardins de Paofai, the shore at the exit from Papeete towards Faa'a was a beach where young people liked to swim. It also welcomed the arrival of the Hokulea double canoe in 1976.

Anti Nuclear War Monument

Monument to Pouvanaa a Oopa (a decorated World War I hero,

Activities related to the "Blue Climate Summit" (mentioned here ) at the Park

The cultural and historical sites:

Running competition of high schools kids with plastic balls at the Park

Traditional Tahitian flowers arrangement at the street by the waterfront

The Mairie (town hall). City Hall,

Inaugurated in 1990, yellow building Town Hall (Mairie de Papeete) at Place Tarahoi was designed to replicate the 19th-century colonial design of Queen Pomare’s mansion, which once stood in the same spot. ( the queen ruled in 1845 when Tahiti became a French Protectorate ) and now houses the mayor's office, municipal staff working spaces. and frequent art exhibits.

Surrounded by palm trees, a pond, and manicured gardens. the Tahitian flag flies on ground, while inside, crystal chandeliers, glass furnishings, historical artifacts, and pink Italian marble add to the grandeur.

The Painting at the City Hall

This yellow painted late 19th-c church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete. can not be missed, when wondering the towns center, and is located close to the waterfront

Food for the Soul

Very near to the church, all on Av. du Général de Gaulle, to my delight when wondering the center's streets, these 3 fantastic chocolate establishments cann't be missed

Fauchon Leonidas Jeff de Burges

And a great Patisserie: Dreams of Lucie - "Le Reves de Lucie"

Av. du Général de Gaulle

Recommended Restaurants

We had a great meal there

L'Instant Present Tél: (+689) 40 57 00 08

Sarah Nui -Papeete

This modest transitional hotel is located very near walking distance to the Sea Port and the center of Papeete and its main attractions..


The last entire day in Tahiti, before taking off back to California was again spent in Papeete. (June 1/2022)

when disembarking the Aranuie early morning, and after saying tear-full goodbyes to old and new friends, as well as to the fantastict staff, storing the luggage at the Saranui hotel for the day, gave us the freedom to wonder around, for the remaining hours.

David stocked-up on some French cheeses and I enjoyed window gazing at the huge selection of Black Pearls, Tahiti is so known for.

Pearly shell

Our wondering brought us upon a store Named Pearly Shel which seemed to have a very nice collection of fine Perl jewelry, at

7 bis Rue Paul Gauguin +689 40 425999 Sales Executive - Francine Robert

Shop owner:

Guy Nivard -

The shop's owner, a wonderful French man who is married to a women from the Philippine and spends his life between French Polynesia and the Philippine, happened to be at the store, when we walked in and was glad to assist us.

He was most patient when we furiously battled, long distance, over the phone, with our futile American credit card companies, so a transaction can be completed.

Though a Christian, Guy shared, he has always felt an identification with the Jewish people. He loves the Old Testament, weekly zoom listen to Ran Yshaia - an Israeli Rabbi , and, he believes in the coming of the Massaia....

Once all the banking hurdles were solved, Guy insisted to drive us back to the hotel but not before passing by a supermarket to buy most delicious cheese he was convinced David had to taste.

A nice ending to a long fabulous exploration of most exotic corner of the world.


By By Tahiti ( painting which hangs in the Aranui Lobby)


Another "negative" Covid Test taken, made the flight back to LA, then to SFO smooth

and uneventful..

Glad to be back at the cool Bay Area, Ca



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