See the highlights of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia that is situated on the island of Tahiti. Visit the traditional Municipal Market, the high-end Vaima shopping center, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, and Papeete Town Hall. The crown jewel of this visit? A chance to explore the world’s only museum dedicated to the black pearl. Your knowledgeable local guide shares informative commentary as you explore the charming capital of French Polynesia.
After pickup from your hotel, visit the Municipal Market where vendors sell fish, fruit, vegetables, an abundance of crafts and other goods among the colorful stalls. Once you've browsed the goods, head to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, one of the few early colonial buildings that remain in Papeete. The centrally located cathedral was completed in 1875 and restored in 1987. Note the mixture of Tahitian and European styles in the stained-glass windows and statues that adorn the church. Once you have contemplated the cathedral, switch gears with a visit to Vaima shopping center, the largest shopping mall in Tahiti. Walk around the chic European-style shops that offer a range of wares. Then go to the Papeete Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) and admire the striking architecture of the building. The structure replicates the mansion of Queen Pomare, who was the queen of Tahiti from 1827 to 1877. French President Mitterand dedicated the colonial palace in 1990, and it has since become a landmark of downtown Papeete.Finally, your guide takes you to the Black Pearl Museum, packed with informative exhibits that detail the underwater treasure in art, history and literature. Learn about the renowned Tahitian black pearl, and how the cultivation process works to bring the precious gems from the sea to the jeweler. The gift shop features stunning pearl jewelry, including pieces that have been worn by royalty. Throughout the tour, your guide provides informative commentary on the highlights of Papeete as you travel by air-conditioned coach around the small charming city. At the end of your 3-hour tour, you are returned to your hotel.