The Polynesian civilization has a very rich cultural heritage. Its rites, language and dialects, but also the organization of its society have been deeply altered by colonization and Christianization. However, the oral transmission has allowed to preserve the heritage of the ancients. Visit the main cultural places in French Polynesia.

1. Taputapuatea Marae in Raiatea: Origins of Polynesia

Aerial view of Taputapuatea Marae in Raiatea

The Taputapuatea marae is a historical site that is over a thousand years old. It is here that kings were crowned and political and military alliances were celebrated. Long neglected and almost forgotten, the marae has been very well restored and now impresses with its gigantic dimensions. History is engraved in the original stone and coral.

Its aura covers the entire Polynesian triangle linking New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii. Its international dimension gives it a pan-Polynesian essence, and places it at the origins of the Polynesian Nation and its extended culture.

The Taputapuatea marae was a religious center of the first order. In the company of a local guide, you will discover the ancient Polynesian legends, the cult of the war god Oro, and the mana of the islands. An on-site visit is a must: book online today!

2. Road From Maeva in Huahine: Legends & Traditions

Old traditional fish trap in Huahine, French Polynesia

The search for authenticity in French Polynesia can lead to the discovery of unlikely cultural places. From Lake Fauna Nui on the island of Huahine, explore the remains of ancient Polynesian civilization and the marks of traditional know-how.

Discover the open-air archaeological sites, the Maeva marae, dating back to pre-European times. Many legends inscribe themselves in the coral rock. Next to it, the small museum of Fare Potee, evokes the daily life of the ancient inhabitants, with navigation as its main theme.

As you continue your journey towards Maroe Bay, you will see huge fish traps. This traditional fishing technique still exists and gives the place a deliciously old-fashioned atmosphere. You will finally reach the small village of Faie to discover the blue-eyed eels. You can discover all these stories on a tour: book today.

3. Valley of the Kings in Bora Bora: Glorious Past

Hiking in Bora Bora: From Green Mountains to WW2 American Guns

In pre-European times, Bora Bora owed its notoriety in the Pacific to the ferocity of its warriors. Its power made it a key player in diplomacy and war, and its kings were among the most feared.

The main island hides many mysteries, which you will have to discover by visiting the inner lands. The valley of the kings takes you to the sacred places, where men and gods belong to the same legends. It is already the possibility to contemplate the remains of ancient sacred places: the marae, around which the daily life was organized.

Through the forests and fruit gardens, the journey from the village of Faanui becomes an initiation walk until the apotheosis: a gigantic Pacific banyan tree. The fantastic tree of about ten meters impresses. The bones and souls of the ancient kings of Bora Bora are between its roots above ground.

4. Hina’s Bell in Tikehau: The Girl & the Sea

Beach of the Bell of Hina in Tikehau, French Polynesia

The Tuamotu archipelago has its own legends and poetic tales. Go to the atoll of Tikehau at the western end of the main motu. On a secluded beach cut off from the world, huge fossilized rocks millions of years old rise up to the sky, disturbing and majestic.

The site has a beautiful story. A young girl named Hina, who became a princess, used to go to this place to take a bath, protected from prying eyes. She would sit in a pool and hit a natural bell. The waters of the lagoon would then fill the basin. A second blow on the bell, and the bath was over, the waters were withdrawing.

Fishermen and then surfers used this legend to their advantage in order to ensure miraculous fishing or first-class waves. The bell disappeared but the basin is still visible. As for the site itself, it exudes a natural power that will not leave you unmoved.

5. Arahurahu Marae in Tahiti: Polynesia Offers Itself to You

Arahurahu Marae in Tahiti, French Polynesia

The Arahurahu marae is one of the most famous cultural places in French Polynesia. The restoration work has allowed the site to be cleaned up to a very high standard. It is located in the commune of Paea on the west coast of Tahiti.

The site owes its new fame to an excellent presentation, especially during official and festive ceremonies. During the months of July and August, as part of the Heiva, several performances of traditional dances will take place there. This folklore is the expression of a recognition to which the Polynesian people aspire: that of a heritage and a culture to be preserved.

We highly recommend attending a ceremony at the Arahurahu marae. To better plan your program, discover the best time to visit French Polynesia. In case you don’t have the opportunity, choose to visit the site with a guide who will make the experience unforgettable.

Discover the Legends of French Polynesia

There are many cultural places in French Polynesia. The issue is above all identity: to value the Polynesian nation and its customs as an affirmation of oneself. In short, it is a question of recreating a link and not living in the past. Contact us to start planning your trip to the South Pacific Islands.