French Polynesia Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

French Polynesia: Holidays, Events, and National Customs

National customs

Tattoos on the Marquesa Islands

Ornate tattoos all over the body are still proudly worn today in traditional patterns.

In the Marquesas it was customary to tattoo the entire body, sometimes even the tongue or the eyelids were tattooed. The term tattoo comes from the Tahitian language, tatau. Not only were the men tattooed, but the women too. For the men, the face tattoos were designed as war paint that was supposed to have a deterrent effect.

The tattoos contained symbols of the tribe. They are traditionally made up of complex geometric shapes. The painful tattooing process was also seen as an initiation rite.


is the name of the traditional house made of coconut wood and coconut palm or panda nut leaves.

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st.

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
January February Chinese new year
February March Polynesian Culture Festival, in Papeete, Place Vaite
5. March Arrival of the first missionaries
March April Easter
Mid-April Miss Bora Bora Beauty Contest
1st of May Labor Day
May Ascension
23-25 May The arrival of the bounty is celebrated every two years.
June 29 Independence day
1.-21. July Around Bastille Day, July 14th, La Fête, one of the largest art and cultural festivals in French Polynesia, is celebrated.
July 14 Bastille Day, French National Day
July August Cultural Heiva, Polynesian fair in Papeete
end of August Night of the Guitar and Ute, folk music of Tahiti
end of September World Tourism Day
19.-26. October Tahiti Carnival
end of October Stonefish ceremony on Tahaa Isla
November 1 All Saints Day
November Armistice Day, Armistice Day
beginning of December National Flower Day
25 December Christmas

Source: Countryaah – French Polynesia Holidays

Regular sporting events

Date Event
January Hinani Surf Tour; Surf competition on Tahiti at the world famous “Teahupoo breack”
in the middle of February Thaiti Nui International Sunrise Marathon on Moorea, from Maatea to Paopoa
February Tahiti Pearl Regatta; Sailing competition that starts on the leeward islands in Raiatea
at the beginning of March International Billfish Tournament; Deep sea fishing competition on Bora Bora
March World Va’a Speed Championship; Every two years canoe race on Bora Bora
middle of March Austral Inter-Island Games; traditional Polynesian sports competitions in the Austral Islands
April Heineken Kayak Contest, kayak race on Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora
end of April Polynesian Sports Festival in Tahiti, featuring traditional sports such as outrigger canoe racing
May Gotcha Tahiti pro surfing contest; the world’s best surfers compete in “Teahupoo breack” in Tahiti.
end of June International Golf Open in Tahiti
end of July Pro-am surfing competition in Tahiti, Te aito Marathon Outrigger Canoe Races; Surf competition and canoe competition
October November Hawaikinui Va’a Canoe Race; Race of the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora

French Polynesia: climate

Due to the constant southeast trade wind, which brings humid and warm air to the islands, it rains particularly heavily on the windward side, i.e. the side of the island facing the wind. This is especially true in the so-called rainy season, between December and February. Otherwise, Tahiti has a mild South Pacific climate. However, in the period between January and February, tropical cyclones, i.e. typhoons (hurricanes), are to be expected. In summer (November-March) temperatures are between 22 °C and 32 °C. However, this is the time when most rainfall occurs. In winter (April-October) temperatures are between 20 °C and 25 °C and there is rather little rainfall. By the way, climate is understood to mean long-term weather events, whereas weather is current or short-term events.

Climate table

The following table shows a number of weather and climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that such monthly average temperature values provide little information about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 30 ° C to reach maximum values of 40 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 15-16 31-32 21-22
February 16-17 31-32 21-22
March 16-17 31-32 21-22
April 10-11 30-31 20-21
May 10-11 30-31 20-21
June 8-9 30-31 19-20
July 4-5 29-30 19-20
August 5-6 29-30 19-20
September 5-6 29-30 21-22
October 8-9 30-31 20-21
November 12-13 30-31 21-22
December 13-14 30-31 21-22

French Polynesia: Sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Site

There are currently no UNESO world cultural or natural heritage sites in French Polynesia. However, the inclusion of a site on the UNESCO World Heritage List is currently being discussed. This site is:

  • Les Iles Marquises

Major cities in French Polynesia


Papeete has about 26,000 residents and is the capital of French Polynesia. Together with the surrounding neighboring communities, the city has around 130,000 residents. Papeete is in the northwest of Society Island.

Special structures

Arue Town Hall

The Arue Town Hall in Papeete was built by the Australian architect Victor Raoulx in 1892 for the Australian consul. The lumber, redwood, was from California.


Mairie is the town hall of Papeete.

Whare houses

These are built on stilts in lagoons and connected by bridges.

The oldest lighthouse in Tahiti

The oldest lighthouse in Tahiti from 1867 stands at Venus Point and was constructed by Robert Stevenson, the father of the writer Roberts Louis Stevenson.

Pouvanaa a Oopa Monument/Papeete

The Pouvanaa a Oopa Monument in Papeete is, as the name suggests, dedicated to the politician and leader of the former Tahitian separatist movement, Pouvanaa a Oopa. The monument was erected in 1982.


Museum of Tahiti

The Museum of Tahiti has exhibitions with numerous exhibits of very old indigenous objects.

Gauguin Museum

The Gauguin Museum has similar exhibitions to the Museum of Tahiti.

Churches and temples

Temple of Paofai/Papeete

Notre Dame/Papeete Cathedral

Papeete Tahiti Temple

Tione Temple

The Tione Temple in Papara on Tahiti from 1996 is modeled on the wooden construction style of the southern hemisphere and decorated with playful details.

Church near Mataiea

The church near Mataiea is modeled on Bramante’s Tempieto.


Church The church in the village of Papetoai on the island of Mororea was built in 1822 with an octagonal floor plan.


Marae Taputapuatea

Marae Taputapuatea on the island of Raiatea in the city of Opoa: This is one of the holiest sites in Polynesia and at the same time one of the largest, it is very well preserved. Marae is a gathering place of the individual extended families and tribes. The marae as a meeting place can be found in all of Polynesia, e.g. B. New Zealand.


Maeva on the island of Huahine: Several maraes can be visited here.


These are stone carvings in the Marquesas and Tahiti.


These human-like stone figures can be found on the Marquesas Islands, where they are up to 2.5 m high.

University of French Polynesia

The University of French Polynesia was founded in 1987 under the name Université Française du Pacifique. This university was affiliated with the University of New Caledonia. In 1999 the two universities were split. The campus of the University of French Polynesia is located in Punaauia. There are currently around 3,000 students studying at the following faculties:

  • medicine
  • Natural sciences
  • law Sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Linguistics
  • technology
  • Economics

Natural beauties

Mount Orahena

Mount Orahena, the highest mountain in Tahiti with a height of 2,241 m, is located in the central massif of the island.


Black Basalt Beaches

Sandy Beaches

The only light sandy beach is on the west coast of Tahiti.

Bora Bora Lagoon in

Opunohu Valley on Moorea



The islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea offer good surfing conditions on the north coasts from October to March and on the south coasts from April to September.


There are excellent sailing areas throughout French Polynesia.


Diving in the current of Tiputa Passes in the Tuamotu Islands is one of the main attractions of French Polynesia. But other islands also offer very good diving areas.


Most dive sites can also be explored by snorkelers.

Horseback riding

The islands of Huahine, Raitaea, Moorea and the Marquesas offer good riding opportunities.

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