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French Polynesia

French Polynesia, also known as “Tahiti and Her Islands,” encompasses volcanic islands of great beauty and tiny atolls scattered across the eastern South Pacific Ocean, distant from all civilisation. These idyllic islands have captured the imagination of the world since the very first European explorers arrived on these sunny shores in the 18th century.
The Archipelagos

French Polynesia consists of several island archipelagos: the Society archipelago with, among others, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Huahine; the Tuamotu archipelago including Rangiroa; the Marquesas archipelago, the Gambier archipelago and the Austral archipelago.

Economy

About 120 islands make up French Polynesia. The capital is Papeete on the island of Tahiti, and the President of the French Republic, represented by the High Commissioner of the Republic, is the Head of State.

The economy of French Polynesia is based on the cultivation of exotic fruits and coffee plantations, cultured pearl farming, and commercial deep-sea fishing.

Cultured pearls, products made ​​from coconut, mother of pearl, vanilla, and shark meat are exported, while fuel, food and equipment are imported.

The People

The population of French Polynesia is approximately 250,000 inhabitants and consists mainly of indigenous Polynesians and people of mixed Polynesian and European background, commonly called "Demi,” meaning “half.” The Chinese community is relatively large.

A small minority of French people also live in the region. The Tahitian welcome is always warm, friendly and genuine.

Culture and Style of Life

European missionaries unfortunately worked hard to remove anything that was unique in the culture of French Polynesia by destroying traditional temples and sculptures, and banning very erotic traditional dances and tattoos. Fortunately, all was not lost. Since the 1980s, there has been a strong cultural revival and a renewed interest in the rediscovery of traditional arts. It is rare to find a Polynesian today that does not proudly carry at least one tattoo.

Tahitian dance is not just for tourists, it represents the most striking and representative expression of the Polynesian culture.

Each performance is meticulously choreographed and orchestrated, and many rehearsals are necessary in order to achieve perfect synchronisation among the dancers.

Polynesians use designs, colors and art in almost everything they do. Their innate artistic talents are reflected in their elegant and colorful pareo (sarongs), their beautiful black pearl jewellery, the beautiful printed designs on tapa (fine cloth similar to paper), in traditional weaving and in their amazing tattoos.


The Local Language

French and Tahitian are the two official languages ​​of French Polynesia. Tourism professionals also often speak English, some Japanese, German and Italian.

It is useful to speak some French if you visit our islands. But do not worry if your French is limited, it is very easy to understand.

Tahitian, also known as Maohi, is a language belonging to the rich group of Polynesian languages ​​that also includes Samoan, Maori from New Zealand, Hawaiian and Tongan.
 
Tahitian grammar is phonetic and easy to learn without much difficulty. It's easy to learn a few words during your stay. Here are some words in English, French and Tahitian to start your trip:

Hello Bonjour Ia ora na
Welcome Bienvenue
Maeva
How are you?
Ça va?
E aha te huru?
All is great!
Tout va bien, ça va
Maitai!
No problem
Pas de problème
Aita pe’ape’a
I don’t understand
Je ne comprends pas
Aita i ta’a ia’u
Cheers (for drinking)
Santé!
Manuia
Thank you
Merci
Mauru'uru
  
“Mauru'uru!” (thank you) - is the only word that you must know. Accompanied by a nice smile, it will take you everywhere...

Getting to French Polynesia

It is easy to book flights to Tahiti and Her Islands. You can book international or domestic flights online at www.airtahitinui.com and www.airfrance.com, as well as on other travel websites. If you stay with Maitai Hotels, we will be happy to help you organise your inter-island flights operated by Air Tahiti, the domestic airline.

Unless you came by sea, your stay in French Polynesia will begin on the main island of Tahiti, where all international passengers arrive at the international airport of Tahiti-Papeete Faaa. There are regular direct flights from Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Auckland and many other international airports (Sydney, Santiago, Chile and Easter Island).

For special offers on flights to Tahiti and other travel information, visit Air Tahitinui's website

To stay in Papeete in Tahiti, we recommend the InterContinental Resort Tahiti.
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