The name of Papeete means “water from a basket” in Tahitian. A popular nickname for French Polynesia is Queen of the Pacific reflecting the islands’ natural beauty.
Top tourist attractions in Papeete are the Robert Wan Pearl Museum, Papeete Catholic Cathedral, Bougainville Park and Pā’ōfa’i Gardens.
Research website numbeo ranks Papeete in the top 43% compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Papeete scored relatively well on index factors such as health care (number 1), safety (best 16%), traffic commute time (fastest 26%) and pollution (cleanest 34%). However, Papeete rates poorly on cost of living (third-most expensive), property price to income ratio (highest 23%) and purchasing power (weakest 26%).
Papeete was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the site of the biggest Tahiti Ori dance ever, thanks to its 2,982 participants dressed in traditional garb on January 30, 2016.
French Polynesia’s capital city has a tropic monsoon climate with a short dry season, typically in August and September. The rest of year is wet, albeit December and January often bring the most precipitation.
From an international trade perspective, French Polynesia exported an estimated US$179.3 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include cultured pearls (50% of French Polynesia’s global total), vanilla (4.1%), yellowfin tunas (4%), crude coconut oil (2.8%), fruit or vegetable juices (2%), and beauty or makeup preparations (1.1%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Papeete, French Polynesia: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Notre Dame Cathedral, Temple Protestant de Paofai, Tomb of King Pomare V and James Norman Hall Home
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Papeete, French Polynesia.
- Anne-Caroline Graffe, Olympic Taekwondo silver medalist (born Feb. 12, 1986)
- Maui Gayme, Olympic Alpine skier (born Oct. 30, 1983)
- Gary Zebrowski, Olympic snowboarder (born Jul. 21, 1984)
- Taïna Barioz, Olympic Alpine skier (born Jun. 2, 1988)
- Diane Lacombe, Olympic swimmer (born Nov. 4, 1976)
- Pascal Vahirua, soccer player/footballer (born Mar. 9, 1966)
- Marama Vahirua, technical director Tahitian Football Federation (born May 12, 1980)
- Michel Buillard, former mayor (born Sep. 9, 1950)
- Mickaël Roche, soccer/football goalkeeper (born Dec. 24, 1982
- Conrad Hall, cinematographer (born Jun. 21, 1926)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a resident of French Polynesia: French Polynesian
Population: 26,357 (Papeete) at August 25, 2020
Density: 3,934 people per square mile (1,515 per square kilometer)
Population: 281,160 (French Polynesia) at August 25, 2020
Density: 199 people per square mile (77 per square kilometer)
Median age for all French Polynesia: 33.6 years old
GDP: US$5.49 billion in 2015 (French Polynesia)
GDP per person: $17,000
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Papeete were unavailable.
Official currency used in Papeete: euro
About Travel, 25 Interesting Facts About Tahiti and Her Islands.
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Australia-Oceania: French Polynesia.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Largest Ori Tahiti dance (Tahitian).
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, City of Papeete.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, French Polynesia.
Wikipedia, Overseas country of France.
WorldOMeter, French Polynesia Population.
World Population Review, French Polynesia (2016).
French Polynesians celebrate Internal Autonomy Day each June 29 as a local holiday.
Papeete contains a land area measuring 6.7 square miles (17.4 square kilometers), home to an estimated population of 26,357 residents.
At the country level, French Polynesia had a population equal to 281,160 inhabitants as of August 2020 living over a land area totaling 1,413 square miles (3,660 square kilometers).
Population density is more concentrated within the capital city Papeete averaging 3,934 residents per square mile (1,515 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to French Polynesia’s overall land boundaries, population density drops to an average 199 people per square mile (77 per square kilometer).