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Located in northeastern Tahiti, Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia. This bustling city is home to over 131,000 inhabitants. The city was first settled by William Crook, a British missionary, in 1818. Queen Pomare IV transferred her court to this coastal city in the years that followed and it grew as a popular Polynesian port. Since 1842, it has been a French overseas territory.
Within the city are many shops, restaurants and cafes. While in Papeete's downtown area, call into the colourful Marche Papeete. This municipal market is home to traders offering oils, traditional hand crafted items and souvenirs.
A number of sites are worth visiting within Papeete downtown, such as Gaston Flosse's presidential palace, Temple de Paofai and Cathedral of Notre Dame of Papeete. Bougainville Park offers a delightful open space in the heart of this bustling city. Formerly Albert Park, it was renamed in honour of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the first Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe.
Papeete makes an excellent base for exploring the beautiful island of Tahiti. While public transportation is available, it can hinder your ability to travel freely as it restricts your travel to their timetables.
Many visitors find that hiring a car for the duration of their stay provides them the mobility and independence they desire. Car hire can be found in Papeete, downtown at: Carrefour Prince Hinoi, Papeete - Tahiti, 98713, PF. When booking car hire, you will need to provide documentation including: a credit card, passport and drivers license. If you have a UK license, you are required to provide both parts of your license.
Before setting off in your car hire, it is advisable to call into the Tahiti Manava Visitors Bureau which can be found in Papeete downtown. Their bilingual staff can assist with travel arrangements, maps and brochures.