Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pape’ete, Tahiti: A Morning at Le Marche

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we aren’t fans of cruise ship organized tours.  We’ve taken a few but prefer to ‘do our homework’ prior to a trip and set out to explore a port of call on our own. 

That is why our first stop in Pape'ete, Tahiti was its "Le Marche". We'd arrived on an early morning in October, the first of three stops in French Polynesia on board the Celebrity Solstice. 


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Shortly after docking, we set off on foot to find the town’s public market, Le Marche, as part of our own walking tour; one that filled our morning hours. The afternoon was spent on a bus tour – that we booked independently on shore – and we rounded out our day with a fabulous meal on shore before returning for our 9 p.m. departure. (the dinner I told you about a few weeks ago.)

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We wandered the market’s aisles first north and south, then east and west; upstairs and downstairs. There was no doubt, it was a 'real' market for locals – not one filled with tourist trinkets and souvenirs as evidenced by the products for sale.

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From vegetables. . .

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To fruit. . .

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And fish. . .the market was alive with color and smells.  It was just the first of many sensory overloads we were to experience in the South Pacific.

But the sight that made my heart skip a beat, was the overwhelming flower displays. . .those tropical stems that can cost $10 or more each back home in the States. . .

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The towering bouquets above could be had for 2,500 French Polynesian Francs, about $29US.

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Fragrant, colorful bursts. . .

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Flowers, flowers everywhere. . .including halos for the hair.  Again, this wasn’t just for tourists (although a few halos were later spotted on ladies from the ship).  One of the prettiest sights in these tropical islands were the flowers being worn in the hair of local ladies – young and old.

We have more Tahitian tales for you and those will come in future posts.  Remember that local tour I told you we booked on our own?  Well this was the vehicle in which we rode. . .but that story is also for another time. . .

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If You Go:
Le Marche is said to be the island's oldest surviving institution. It is located in the heart of the city, a few short blocks from the port.  It is open Monday to Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays until 9 a.m. (a busy time there when families stock up for their Sunday meals).


We are linking up today at Budget Travelers Sandbox for Travel Photo Thursday 
and with Travel Photo Discovery on Monday
and Sweet Shot Tuesday 
If you like our travels and want to see more photos, start following us on Instagram.
And please don't forget to come back here - soon!
Until then ~ Happy Travels ~ Joel and Jackie

37 comments:

  1. I'm sure that if I ever took a cruise I'd be arranging my own tours as well! Being such a big market lover I'd probably head to the markets too! These look fabulous..the flowers beautiful and as you mentioned cheap! They cost a fortune here as well!

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    1. Jenny, we share the love of exploring the market. And the prices were so reasonable that we had to calculate them twice just to believe what we were seeing! Thanks for your visit!

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  2. Ohhh, how absolutely gorgeous! Those colors are wondrous and I love that silvery light in the top photo. :-)

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    1. It was a magical light that flooded us on our arrival at Pape'ete and seemed to stay with us all day! Thanks for visiting today!! xo

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  3. Those markets look amazing and I'd be overawed by the flowers too - especially the brash, garish, beautiful tropical stems!!

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    1. One bouquet would likely have filled our cabin on the ship, but I was certainly tempted to buy one and find out. . .I didn't though!

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    1. It is always nice to see you've visited! Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Love to visit markets when we travel and this looks like a good one!

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    1. We were amazed at the size -- it just went on and on and extended to the outside sidewalks that bordered it as well. You would love it, Irene. Thanks for visiting today.

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  6. I love too visit markets and this one is so rich and exotic! You took some great pictures and these flower wreaths are fantastic!

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    1. The ladies wore those flower wreaths in their hair -- they were rich, colorful halos of the tropics. Thanks so much for your visit today!

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  7. I'm with you, Jackie. I organize my own tours so I can see the things I'm interested in. Thanks for showing us Le Marche. I'd be on sensory overload as well -- and loving every minute of it!

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    1. Thanks for visiting today Marcia! I almost linked this to Foodie Tuesday but I am working on a new creation for it for next week. . .bound to make you smile!

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  8. we love exploring local markets and this one looks especially inviting and colorful. great photos!

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    1. We think markets are our favorite sightseeing places in new cities - a sensory overload taste of the culture!

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  9. Thanks much for stopping by; as always, it is appreciated!

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  10. Love the look of the characterful bus. Look forward to the post on that. I would have enjoyed the market. I love staying in an apartment so that when we go to the markets I can buy ingredients to cook with.

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    1. We loved our 'Le Truck' outing. . .perhaps even more than the market. Will take you along on that outing in the next few weeks!

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  11. Those flowers are gorgeous - exactly what I imagine when I think of Tahiti!!

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    1. Absolutely! Had I not found tropical blooms I would have been pretty disappointed!

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  12. Argh, I just lost an entire comment! I had said that you long know by now that had me at Tahiti. I absolutely love markets and Reno just doesn't have any. The Le Marche sounds and looks amazing and I would want to try the amazing fresh fish! Thank you for another smile, Jackie :)

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    1. You would go nuts at this market, Mike. (And you'd soon be cooking up a tropical storm in your kitchen!) Too bad Reno doesn't have any such places. Sorry, you lost that comment - hate it when that happens!

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  13. I was in Papeete but suffering from jet lag and never made it to that market. I swwon over flowers like the ones in the market.

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    1. That is the nice thing about arriving by cruise ship - no jet lag!

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  14. We mostly book our own tours too or go independently during cruises. My kids don't do well with organized and rushed tours. We love visiting markets and this one looks great. Those flowers are just beautiful! Looking forward to the bus story.

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    1. It was a great -- somewhat uncomfortable -- outing on the ol' Le Bus. And you and your kids would love it!

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  15. It's been a very long time since I've been on a cruise, and we've never taken the kids on one. Previously, we always booked the onshore excursions through the cruise company because I didn't have enough confidence to do it independently. But now that we have so much travel under our belts, I think I could pull it off. I really like that you were able to visit a local market. Was it hard not to buy much food since I imagine that the cruise kept you rather well fed? And those are really magnificent floral arrangements for such a cheap price.

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    1. On previous cruises we have purchased spices or other small packaged items at markets to take home for souviners or bread or cheese but we were saving ourselves for that fantastic food truck experience later in the day so weren't as tempted as we usually are.

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  16. What a fun tour, I enjoy visiting and taking photos of markets and this is a really nice one..the bus looks like a lot of fun with real fresh air!

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  17. With your camera talents, Noel, you would have turned this place into a real photo post! Thanks for visiting. . .

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  18. I always enjoy a good market. Those flowers are awesome. I'm not sure I could have left without purchasing one or two!

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    1. There is something just plain fun about markets, isn't there? And yes, had I had a small handtruck to haul those bouquets in, I would have likely also fallen to their call.

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  19. I love a good market...love it. Great photos

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    1. Hi Corinne, Thanks for stopping by and commenting today. Hope you'll be a regular at TravelnWrite!

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  20. I do love a good fresh foods market.

    Mollyxxx

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    1. Hi Molly and welcome to TravelnWrite. Hope to see you and your comments here often!
      xx Jackie

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