The oldest attraction on the island, Papeete Market, sits in the heart of French Polynesia’s capital city, just a short walk from the bay. It is a colorful and stimulating place with an array of food and keepsakes. Find hats, necklaces, fruit, vegetables and traditional souvenirs with a Tahitian theme lining the shelves of the modern complex that holds the market. Bright, decorative banners and streamers help to create a festive atmosphere among the inexpensive items for sale.
Taste exotic fruits that you never knew existed, such as carambolas and soursops. Admire striking handmade objects by local artists. Fragrances are an important part of Tahitian culture. Delight in the enchanting smell of the Monoï oil, which is made from flower petals and coconut oil. Inhale the rich scent of vanilla beans and buy some to take home.
Browse the food on display, including fresh fish, cakes, pies and preserves. The site is an ideal spot to assemble a picnic from local delicacies. At the fish market, find parrotfish, red snappers, swordfish and many other vibrant sea creatures. The fish and meat section is separate from the rest of the bazaar, which occupies 75,000 square feet (7,000 square meters) across two floors.
Buy bunches of multi-colored flowers and haggle with vendors over the price of fabrics, clothing and handicrafts. Many vendors are also well-versed in Tahitian mythology and can tell you about the ancient mysticism of the black pearls.
The market opens daily from early morning until early evening. Admission is free and credit cards are often accepted as a method of payment.
Find the Papeete Market in the historic center of the city, near the northwest coast of the island. Popular sites, such as Parc Bougainville and the Black Pearl Museum, surround the market. It is a 2-minute walk south from the Maritime Station, where people arrive on the island by boat.