Place Jacques Chirac
Overlooking Papeete harbor is the picturesque park, Place du 2 Juillet (2nd of July Square), a lush green space known for its sculptures, vegetation and political symbolism. The date in the park’s name commemorates the first nuclear tests carried out in the South Pacific and the park acts as a protest against French Polynesia’s nuclear activity. See carvings that pay tribute to Tahiti’s turbulent past and victims of nuclear catastrophes worldwide. Attend official memorial services and enjoy a clear vista of the bay.
See the traditional totems by local artist Eriki Marchand that serve to remind visitors of the nuclear strikes as well as Maohi spirituality. Learn about French Polynesia’s history of nuclear testing. The French conducted 193 nuclear tests between 1966 and 1996.
Look at the five stones in the center of the park that represent the five archipelagos of French Polynesia. Read the plaque in English, French and Tahitian that pays tribute to those who lost their lives in other nuclear disasters worldwide, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Admire the carved mahogany totems near the central memorial.
Attend the official commemoration, known as “The Strange Cloud,” on July 2 every year. Residents and visitors to the city congregate to pay homage to the victims of nuclear war. The park is a popular meeting point in the city and has a two-story underground parking lot.
The park was formerly known as Parc Jacques Chirac, after the president of France from 1995 to 2007. Chirac was a close ally with former Tahitian leader, Gaston Flosse.
You will find Place du 2 Juillet 1966 in the heart of Papeete on the western coast of Tahiti. It is nestled between Parc Bougainville and the Paofai Gardens. The park is a 0.6-mile (1-kilometer) walk south from the Maritime Station where the ferries dock. Visit other attractions nearby, including the Cathédrale de l’Immaculée Conception and the Black Pearl Museum.