Located at 18,000 kms from France, French Polynesia is composed of approximately 118 islands, of volcanic or coral origin, covering an area emerged of 4.200 kms². These islands are scattered over a surface equivalent to that of Europe.
Tahiti and its islands are at 10h GMT, that is to say -12 hours of summer or -11 hours of winter compared to Paris. The climate is tropical, warm and humid, but tempered by trade winds. There are two seasons: a hot and humid season (27 to 35 ° C) from December to February and a cooler season (21 to 27 ° C) from March to November.
The Territory, which has the status of Overseas Territory, is composed of 5 archipelagos each offering radically different landscapes :
- In the west, the Society Islands, including the Windward Islands (Tahiti, the largest of the Polynesian islands, with Papeete as administrative capital, Moorea) and the Leeward Islands (Raiatea, Tahaa, Huahine , Bora-Bora, Maupiti, …), is made up of high islands surrounded by a coral reef and a lagoon fringing the coast. It is the largest and most populated region in the Territory.
- Located 300 km north-east of Tahiti, the Tuamotu archipelago is composed exclusively of low-lying islands of coral origin called atolls, vast circular sand strips, covered with coconut trees, delimiting an inland lagoon with turquoise waters.
- The Australes Archipelago (Tubuai, Rurutu, …), located at the extreme South, is made up of 7 high islands bordered by a lagoon and a reef. These ancient volcanoes with soft reliefs possessing a sub-tropical climate are suitable for vegetable gardens. The Australes are the meeting place of the whales coming to gather there every year from July to October.
- The Gambier Archipelago (Mangareva, …) located at the extreme east of the Territory, about 1,600 kms from Tahiti, consists of a huge lagoon protected by a barrier of coral and dotted with a dozen High islands, vestiges of an immense crater now immersed. Tourism is still very little developed, as in the Austral Islands.
- A 1.500 kms from Tahiti, the Marquesas Archipelago (Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, …), located close to the Equator, consists of a group of high volcanic islands, without lagoon or coral reef important. The Marquesas, named Enua Enata (Terre des Hommes), offer few beaches but grandiose landscapes where pigs, goats, sheep, wild horses gallop in freedom.