Spread over a vast area about the size of Europe, the widely scattered (118 islands and atolls) of French Polynesia - part of an overseas territory of France - are divided into 5 groups: the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos.
Of these, the Society archipelago is certainly the most famous. It includes the stunning islands of Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti - and like the enchanting Marquesas in the northeast - most are lush, dark green specs of land, volcanic in origin, with jagged-edged peaks jutting boldly into the sky.
Almost 61% of the total population of French Polynesia lives on the island of Tahiti, in and around the capital city of Papeete.
The Tuamotu archipelago (in contrast to the other groups) includes only low-lying coral atolls (78 in all), and of these, only a handful have passable inlets into their central lagoons.
Rangiroa, the largest coral atoll in French Polynesia, is famed for its natural beauty, and remains a favorite of travelers from across the globe.
The Austral and Gambier islands in the south are lighted populated, as most are still uninhabited.
The ancient subsistence economy of the larger islands has been replaced by the modern economics of tourism revenues, military employment, pearl farming, commercial fishing and a growing selection of small manufacturing jobs.
Facts and Figures
Official Name French Polynesia
an overseas territory of France,
originally claimed in 1843
Population 274,578 (2006 estimate)
Capital City Papeete (27,000) Tahiti (151,500)
Languages French (official), Tahitian (official)
Official Currency Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc
Currency Converter here
Religions Protestant, Catholic, others
Land Area 3,660 sq km
Latitude/Longitude 17º 52S, 149º 56W
Highest Point Mt. Orohena at 7,350 ft. (2,241 m)
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French Polynesia Large Color Map here
French Polynesia Map CIA version here
French Polynesia Outline Map here
French Polynesia Maps at UT here
Oceania Maps here
French Polynesia (Complete) information on the (GDP) overall economy, imports and exports, resources, government, population, military, transportation, and more here
French Polynesia website here
French Polynesia photos here
French Polynesia travel info here
Bora Bora website here
Moorea website here
Tahiti tourism website here
Climate The summer months (November - April) are hot and humid, with many sunny days. The balance of the year is slightly cooler and drier.
Cooling trade winds buffet the islands throughout the year, and the months of June, July, August and October are widely considered to be ideal times to visit.
Frankly, there's never a bad time to travel to paradise.
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