What Continent does French Polynesia Belong?

French Polynesia, usually referred to as the Society Islands, is a French overseas territory in the South Pacific. The 118 islands, atolls, and islets that make up the island group are dispersed over an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers. The location, history, culture, economy, and tourism of French Polynesia will all be covered in this article as five subtopics.


google mapLocation

Approximately 4,000 kilometers east of Australia and 8,000 kilometers west of Chile, French Polynesia is situated in the South Pacific Ocean. The Society Islands, Austral Islands, Gambier Islands, Marquesas Islands, and Tuamotu Archipelago are the five archipelagos into which the islands are split. The most populated and well-known of the archipelagos are the Society Islands, which include Tahiti and Moorea.

118 islands, atolls, and islets make up French Polynesia, which spans an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers. The Tuamotu Archipelago and the Society Islands are the two groups into which the islands are split. The most populous islands are the Society Islands, which also contain the most well-known islands, Tahiti and Moorea. 77 atolls make up the 77-atoll Tuamotu Archipelago, which is east of the Society Islands.

The French Polynesian islands are located in a tropical climate zone and have warm, humid weather all year long. The summer months experience the highest temperatures, which range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius on average. The wettest months are December to March, and the islands see a modest amount of rainfall overall. The Islands contain stunning coral reefs that are home to a diversity of marine life, and they are bordered by pristine waters.


French Polynesia’s islands have a long history that dates to the advent of the Polynesians in the area around 1,000 AD. The Polynesians were a maritime culture who used the stars and their understanding of the ocean currents to navigate the Pacific Ocean. They made their way to the islands and established a distinct culture and way of life there. The Polynesians created magnificent stone temples and statues in addition to being adept farmers and fishers.

When the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen arrived on the islands in 1722, Europeans first learned about them. Captain James Cook’s voyage to Tahiti in 1769, however, marked the beginning of the French interest in the islands in the late 18th century. Cook was the first European to see the islands, and he was astounded by its natural beauty and wealth.

The French dispatched a mission to the islands in 1842, and they officially claimed colonial status in 1843. On the islands, the French established a government and started to build the economy by bringing in fresh crops like vanilla and coconut. On the island of Tahiti, the French also constructed a penal colony. The inmates were employed in the construction of ports, roads, and other infrastructure.

The French government started to promote the islands as a tourist destination in the late 19th century. Wealthy Americans and Europeans who visited the islands to experience the tropical splendour made the islands popular. To safeguard its interests in the Pacific, the French government additionally constructed a naval base on the island of Tahiti.

French Polynesia was admitted as a French overseas territory in 1946. Since that time, a high commissioner chosen by the French government has been in charge of the islands. The islands received autonomy in 1957, and French Polynesia became a French overseas collectivity in 1984.


The Polynesian, French, and other influences can be found in French Polynesia’s culture. The traditional dances, music, and crafts of the Polynesian people are still performed today, and the culture remains vibrant and powerful. At ceremonies and cultural gatherings, the traditional dances, like the “ote’a” and the “hiva,” are performed. French Polynesia’s music, which uses traditional instruments like the ukulele, the ‘ipu, and the ‘toere, is also highly influenced by Polynesian culture. French Polynesia’s traditional arts and crafts include tapa making, basket weaving, and woodcarving. These items can be bought as mementos and are still made locally by artists.

The architecture and food of the islands reflect the French influence on French Polynesia’s culture. Buildings like the Paul Gauguin Museum and the Governor’s Palace display colonial architecture. The popular dishes mahi mahi (a species of fish) in a vanilla sauce and poisson cru (raw fish marinated in coconut milk) combine French and Polynesian flavors to create the cuisine of French Polynesia.

Other cultures, like Chinese and Japanese, have also influenced French Polynesia, as seen by the existence of Chinese and Japanese grocery stores and the prevalence of martial arts like judo and karate.


The principal industry of French Polynesia’s economy is tourism, which also serves as the islands’ primary revenue source. Agriculture, especially the production of vanilla and coconut, is important to the economy. One of the most significant crops grown in French Polynesia and exported to nations throughout the world is vanilla. A common crop is the coconut, which is also used to make the oil used in many cosmetics and other products.

Additionally, there is a minor industrial sector that produces cosmetics and pearls. The export of pearls to nations like Japan, Europe, and the United States makes the pearl business a significant economic contributor. French Polynesia’s cosmetics industry is expanding as well, with numerous regional businesses creating high-quality cosmetics using organic components like vanilla and coconut oil.

Aquaculture and fishing are other significant sectors, with tuna being a significant export. Because of the abundance of marine life in the waters surrounding French Polynesia, fishing is a significant source of income for many local households. With many local farmers farming fish in freshwater ponds, aquaculture is also becoming more and more significant.

hiking pathTourism

French Polynesia’s economy is mostly based on tourism, with travelers flocking to the islands to take advantage of the stunning beaches, crystal-clear oceans, and verdant landscapes. The most visited islands are Tahiti and Moorea, which provide a variety of activities like trekking, diving, and snorkeling. As well as their extensive cultural past, the islands are renowned for their upscale resorts and spas. Couples looking for a romantic break and honeymooners both enjoy visiting French Polynesia.

Papeete, the main city, and the international airport are located on Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. Black sand beaches, verdant jungles, and traditional Polynesian communities make Tahiti famous. Moorea, which is only a short ferry journey away from Tahiti, is well-known for its stunning beaches, pristine waters, and picturesque hiking paths.

Visitors can also have interesting and fascinating experiences on the other islands in French Polynesia. The Tuamotu Archipelago is renowned for its stunning coral reefs and diving opportunities, whilst the Marquesas Islands are recognized for their untamed landscapes. The Gambier Islands are renowned for their lengthy history, while the Austral Islands are noted for their traditional Polynesian culture.

The South Pacific Ocean’s French Polynesia is a distinctive and stunning archipelago. The islands are a well-liked travel destination for people from all over the world because of its fascinating history and culture, diverse economy, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Our Top FAQ's

The five archipelagos that make up French Polynesia are the Society Islands, the Austral Islands, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Tourism is the main source of income for French Polynesia, with agriculture and fishing being other important sources of income.

Traditional dances such as the ‘ote’a and the ‘hiva’ and traditional music that features instruments such as the ukulele, the ‘ipu and the ‘toere are still being practiced in French Polynesia.

The most popular islands for tourism in French Polynesia are Tahiti and Moorea, which offer a wide range of activities such as snorkeling, diving, and hiking.

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