PAPEETE

Papeete is the largest city in and capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti. Papeete city is the primary center of Tahitian and French Polynesian public and private governmental, commercial, industrial and financial services.

Papeete is not a tropical paradise. It is a typical government center and industrial port with small doses of French and Polynesian charm. It has shopping, eating, and drinking, but very little sightseeing for a capital city and even fewer top-class hotels. The residents speak French and Tahitian, although English is spoken by many in the tourist trade. The people-watching is superb.

Papeete features a tropical monsoon climate with a wet season and dry season. However, precipitation is observed even during the city’s dry season. The dry season is short, covering only the months of August and September. The rest of the year is wet, with the heaviest precipitation falling in the months of December and January.

History of Papeete City

At the outbreak of World War I Papeete was shelled by German vessels, causing loss of life and significant damage.

The growth of the city was boosted by the decision to move the nuclear weapon test range from Algeria to the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, some 1,500 km (930 mi) to the east of Tahiti; this originated in particular in the construction of the Faa’a airport next to Papeete, the only international airport in French Polynesia.

In 1983, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built the Papeete Tahiti Temple here because of a large number of members in the region. On 5 September 1995, the government of Jacques Chirac conducted the first of the last series of nuclear test detonations off the shores of Moruroa. A resulting riot in Papeete lasted for two days and damaged the international airport, injured 40 people, and scared away tourism for some time.

Photos

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