The capital city of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located on the island of Tahiti. Papeete, which means “water from a basket”, is a port city and part of the Windward Islands. The city is divided into eleven wards including Manu Hoe, Fari'ipiti, Faiere, Patutoa, Taunoa, Titioro, Tepapa, Pic Rouge, Tipaerui, Paofai, and Mamao. Papeete was originally founded in 1843 soon after the islands of Tahiti and Tahuata were officially declared to be French protectorates.

According to figures from 2012 the population of the 6.7 square mile city of Papeete is estimated to be 25,769 with a density of 3,800 people per square mile. The capital city’s urban area is home to some 133,627 residents and has a population density of 1,200 citizens per square mile. Papeete’s urban area is made up of of seven communes; Arue, Faaa, Mahina, Pirae, Papeete, Punaauia, and Paea. The current mayor of the city is Michel Buillard who has served in this post since 1995.


A great many tourists visiting Papeete travel there on an array of cruise ships which regularly dock at the city’s port. Popular local attractions include the Notre Dame Cathedral, a 19th century colonial church which has the distinction of being Tahiti’s oldest Catholic place of worship. Another popular site for locals and tourists alike is the sprawling Municipal Market where food products as well as locally made handicrafts and souvenirs are available for purchase. Another popular spot in Papeete is the Tomb of King Pomare V, a memorial primarily made of coral which commemorates Tahiti’s last monarch.

Papeete has a tropical monsoon climate which includes both a wet and dry season. During most of the year the climate is wet with the most rain falling during the months of December and January. Average precipitation amounts range from two to twelve inches per month. Papeete’s dry season is relatively short and basically includes the months of August and September. Temperatures are usually the same all year round with an average of approximately 77F.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018