Must-see attractions in French Polynesia

  • Love Here

    Ra'iatea & Taha'a

    An exceptionally friendly, family-run pearl farm right on the seashore, approximately halfway between Tapuamu and Patio. Visitors learn about the…

  • Archaeological Museum

    Huahine

    Situated on the water’s edge on the Fare side of Maeva, the fare potee (open traditional house) has a small archaeological museum. Around the site are 10…

  • Belvédère

    Mo'orea

    Up the Opunohu valley road, this lookout is the island's highest point accessible by car. It offers superb views of Opunohu and Cook's bays, Mt Rotui …

  • Flat Stone

    The Marquesas

    At the northern entrance of the village there’s a large flat stone that you can walk out onto to see a view of the village and bay. It’s now used to dry…

  • Museum

    The Marquesas

    Located next to the mayor’s office, this little museum features pestles, tiki, finely carved sculptures, pahu (drums), jewellery and period photos as well…

  • Marae Fare-Opu

    Bora Bora

    There are only a handful of marae (traditional temple) ruins on Bora Bora, including Marae Fare-Opu, which is squeezed between the roadside and the water…

  • Matira Beach

    Bora Bora

    Bora Bora’s only real beach, this stunning stretch of snow-white sand and pinch-me-I’m-dreaming turquoise sea is perfect for sunbathing and swimming (but…

  • Avea Bay

    Huahine

    Find some of the island's best beaches around this bay. The lagoon is wide and good for swimming. The best beach is at Relais Mahana. Further on the road…

  • Pae Pae Piki Vehine

    Nuku Hiva

    Rebuilt for the 1989 Marquesas Festival, this pae pae (traditional meeting platform) contains modern sculptures and a dozen magnificent tiki made by the…

  • Tohua Mauia

    The Marquesas

    Situated above the village, the magnificent Tohua Mauia comprises a huge L-shaped stone platform as well as numerous pae pae dotted around the main…

  • Taravai

    French Polynesia

    Taravai had a population of 2000 when the missionaries arrived, but today only about five people live here. The 1868 Église Saint-Gabriel (Church of St…

  • Aukena

    French Polynesia

    Aukena has reminders of the missionary period, including the hexagonal lookout tower, still used as a landmark, the former seminary and the lime kiln. The…

  • Ancien Phare de Topaka

    Fakarava

    This photogenic 15m-tall grey turret (dating from 1957) looks as if it’s on loan from a medieval castle. The lighthouse is no longer in operation. To get…

  • Vaikivi Petroglyphs

    The Marquesas

    This little-visited archaeological site on the Vaikivi Plateau is well worth the detour, if only for the walk or horse ride to get there. A guide is…

  • Haapiti

    Mo'orea

    The largest village on the west coast, Haapiti is home to the splendid twin-towered Catholic Église de la Sainte Famille, which is made of coral and lime…

  • House of James Norman Hall

    Pape'ete

    Towards the outer edge of Pape’ete’s urban sprawl in Arue is this lovely little replica of Mutiny on the Bounty co-author James Norman Hall’s house. The…

  • Poerani

    Ra'iatea & Taha'a

    From Hôtel Hibiscus the coast road goes around the northern side of the bay to Haamene passing Rooverta Ebbs’ Poerani, where you can check out pearl…

  • Vin de Tahiti

    Rangiroa

    Vin de Tahiti has a 6-hectare vineyard planted on a palm-fringed motu about 10 minutes by boat from Avatoru village. This is the only atoll vineyard in…

  • Hakahau Bay

    The Marquesas

    For a beautiful view of Hakahau Bay head east from Pukuéé pension along a track until you reach a small pass. Here take the right fork and climb steeply…

  • Hana Iti Beach

    Huahine

    Here’s a secret spot (shhh): the beach of the former Hana Iti Hotel. This dreamlike cove lapped by lapis-lazuli waters offers a nice patch of sand backed…

  • Cathédrale Saint-Michel

    French Polynesia

    Fully restored in 2011, the imposing Cathedral of St Michael was built between 1839 and 1848 and was Laval’s most ambitious project. It makes a colourful…

  • Hakanai Bay

    The Marquesas

    Shortly after the airport at Aneou, Hakanai Bay appears like a mirage from around a sharp bend: a long curve of wave-lashed beach. It has been named Plage…

  • Marae Tahiri Vairau & Beach

    Fakarava

    This partly restored marae built of coral slabs sits in a coconut grove beside a lovely strip of coral sand, about 400m past Plage du PK9. The beach…

  • Vaipoe Pearl Farm

    Ra'iatea & Taha'a

    From Hôtel Hibiscus the coast road goes around the northern side of the bay to Haamene passing Vaipoe Pearl Farm, where you can check out pearl grafting…

  • Arboretum

    The Marquesas

    A wide variety of plants, including 200 species of citrus fruits, are cultivated in these botanical gardens halfway between Vaipaee and Hane. The species…

  • Archaeological Museum

    Nuku Hiva

    This modest yet well-organised archaeological museum does a good job of explaining the archipelago’s history and culture. It features artefacts, exhibits…

  • Couvent Rouru

    French Polynesia

    The eerily beautiful remains of Rouru Convent, which once housed 60 nuns, stands south of the cemetery and is quickly becoming engulfed by weeds. It’s…

  • Coastal Defence Guns

    Bora Bora

    Coming from Faanui Bay, continue until you reach the quay of the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa on your left. Walk for another 50m and you'll see a…

  • Musée Enana

    Nuku Hiva

    This little museum has a few documents and some beautiful ancient Marquesan artefacts. It also doubles as a small craft shop. Entry was free at the time…

  • Marae Fare Aito

    Mo'orea

    This large marae has a small, raised-terrace ahu (altar), and back rests that were used by the priests. It is flanked by two crescent-shaped archery…

  • Akamaru

    French Polynesia

    Akamaru was the first island to be visited by Laval, and his majestic 1841 Église Nôtre-Dame-de-la-Paix (Our Lady of Peace Church) still stands on the…

  • Maroe

    Huahine

    Dotted with the reminders of the god Hiro’s splitting of the island in two, the village of Maroe sits on the southern side of Maroe Bay. You can spot the…

  • Motu Tauna

    French Polynesia

    Picture this: there’s a white-sand beach lapped by turquoise waters, palm trees leaning over the shore, and great snorkelling options. This deserted islet…

  • Te One Roa

    French Polynesia

    Beach bums in search of a place to wallow will make a beeline for this picture-perfect, white-sand beach on the western coast. Here the lagoon is deep…

  • Vaiare

    Mo'orea

    The constant toing and froing of ferry boats and high-speed catamarans at the ferry quay, the busy market scene and the cars, taxis and buses shuttling…

  • Avatoru

    Rangiroa

    Avatoru won’t leap to the top of your list of preferred villages in French Polynesia, but its location, right by Avatoru Pass and the lagoon, is stunning…

  • Toatea Lookout

    Mo'orea

    This spot really fits the picture-postcard ideal. Atop the hill north of the Sofitel la Ora Moorea Beach Resort, this lookout affords dazzling views of…

  • Plage Lafayette

    Pape'ete

    On the edge of Matavai Bay, this wide curve of sparkling black sand is great for a dip. It never gets crowded. The eastern side is framed by steep…

  • Place To’ata

    Pape'ete

    This square is an evolving multi-use development project on Pape’ete’s western edge. The far end of the square is home to a 5000-seat pavilion, which is…

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