The Best Places to Shop in French Polynesia

Even visitors who have never cared about jewelry before find themselves mesmerized by the black pearls found in French Polynesia, scanning the loose pearls at pearl markets, visiting farms where the gleaming little seeds are cultivated, heading to the Robert Wan Pearl Museum (where, of course, you can buy the lovely items on exhibit). At the Papeete Municipal Market, or Marché de Papeete, browse the spectacular local fruit and fish, but stop by the stands selling locally produced vanilla and fragrant body products made with monoi oil (which is coconut oil infused with the scent of flowers). While you’ll hardly need a souvenir to remember these magical islands, it can’t hurt to pick up a gift made here.

56 Avenue du Commandant Destremau, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia
Tahitian black pearls are the one must-have. Here, you’ll find the highest quality and original designs that feature the strange deep shimmer of black pearl (and prices that seem one digit too long).
The perfect place to shop for anything and everything from all the islands is the 155-year-old public market called Le Marché. Located two blocks from the waterfront in the heart of Papeete, the market covers two stories. The lower level is filled with hundreds of stands offering Tahitian-made crafts, oils, vanilla, fruits, and flowers. Upstairs is reserved for artisans selling pareos, carvings, Tifaifai wall hangings and quilts, embroidered cushion covers, and other handicrafts. You’ll also find a few good shops for purchasing unique black pearl jewelry at fair prices. An on-site cafeteria serves local dishes. Le Marché is not just a tourist attraction, however—it’s a proper market where locals come to shop for meat, fish, fresh flowers, and produce and to chat with friends over coffee at one of the patisseries.
'Uturoa, French Polynesia
Uturoa’s local town market, which opens at sunrise daily (but only stays open for a few hours on Sundays), offers a selection of hand-crafted souvenirs and pareus on its upper level as well as a vast selection of Raiatea’s freshest seafood and produce—which make for curiously colorful photo ops—on the main level. It really bustles on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Rue Super Marché LIAUT
Located on the waterfront next to the cruise-ship dock in Uturoa, this shopping center is home to a small assortment of clothing and jewelry boutiques. Locals also set up stands outside to sell handicrafts, such as wood carvings, shell necklaces and artwork.

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