Papeete is pronounced “Papé-été”, which means waterbasket. It is a place you should definitely visit during your vacation in The Islands of Tahiti. Shopping, gastronomy, modern and ancestral culture – a day in Papeete is always a memorable experience.

What to do in Papeete

Notre-Dame Cathedral, a historic start

All distances in Tahiti are measured from Notre-Dame Cathedral, which is at PK0 (kilometer point zero). Inaugurated in 1875, this emblematic monument with its imposing belltower, magnificent stained-glass windows and bright yellow exterior, welcomes visitors.

Papeete's cathedral © Pierre-François Grosjean
Papeete’s cathedral © Pierre-François Grosjean

Cultural immersion at Paofai Protestant Temple

On a Sunday morning, visit the Protestant temple in Paofai to admire the beautiful hats and traditional dresses of the parishioners. The hymn singing is uplifting and simply wonderful.

Paofai gardens and sea front

After listening to the singing, go for a stroll through the gardens of Paofai and along the seafront. You’ll certainly appreciate the magnificent views over the lagoon.

Papeete waterfront ©Grégoire Le Bacon
Papeete waterfront ©Grégoire Le Bacon

Place To’ata and the Heiva i Tahiti in July

As you head back towards the center, you’ll pass Place To’ata, where the Heiva i Tahiti traditional festival is held each year in July. With spectacular performances of traditional music and dance, it is the most important and popular cultural festival in French Polynesia.

Heiva i Tahiti, danseur de 'ori Tahiti (danse traditionnelle) ©Dimitri Nguyen Verdenet
Heiva i Tahiti, danseur de ‘ori Tahiti (danse traditionnelle) ©Dimitri Nguyen Verdenet

Papeete market

On any weekday, step out of the glaring sun into the cool shade of Papeete market. You’ll find a wide variety of local produce as well as stalls selling examples of all the traditional arts and crafts, from pareos to tiki sculptures.

L'emblématique marché de Papeete ©Massimiliano Cinà
L’emblématique marché de Papeete ©Massimiliano Cinà

A day trip to Moorea

To end your visit in style, reserve an excursion to Moorea from the Gare Maritime in Papeete. You’ll discover the magnificent beaches, crystal clear turquoise lagoon and breathtaking scenery of this jewel in The Islands of Tahiti.

Traversée Tahiti Moorea © Tahiti Tourisme
Traversée Tahiti Moorea © Tahiti Tourisme

Did you find this content useful?