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Noumea - a little piece of France in the Pacific

Noumea is where European sophistication meet indigenous Kanak culture. This is where French boulangeries serve fresh croissants and tanned tourists windsurf around the harbour.

Noumea is where European sophistication meet indigenous Kanak culture. This is where French boulangeries serve fresh croissants and tanned tourists windsurf around the harbour.

Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia and is often referred to as ‘a little piece of France in the Pacific’ and with its French Riviera atmosphere and its luxury boutiques it is easy to see why.

 

The Port Moselle Market

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The Port Moselle Market is open daily from 5 – 11:30am (except Mondays) and is busy with locals and tourists alike. The markets are a great place to find ripe island fruits and perfect buttery croissants as well as the catch of the day with the local fishermen arriving straight in from the ocean with the freshest seafood and shellfish.

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Be sure to pick up souvenirs, crafts and other items on your visit here and then rejuvenate over a steaming espresso and melt-in-your-mouth pain-au-chocolat.

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Ripe island fruits at the markets in Noumea.

 

Eat and Drink

French wines are considerably cheaper in New Caledonia compared to Australia.

French wines are considerably cheaper in New Caledonia compared to Australia.

The choice of eating places and food on New Caledonia is excellent; costs vary from moderate to expensive. In Nouméa, choose from street stalls serving local cuisine to gourmet restaurants and bistros serving up an international feast – African, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Italian and Spanish cooking can all be found here. Eating out in other areas such is generally confined to hotel restaurants and snack bars.

Noumea is full of French boulangeries where you can find buttery croissants and fresh baguettes.

Noumea is full of French boulangeries where you can find buttery croissants and fresh baguettes.

Specialities:
• Pacific spiny lobsters, prawns, crabs
• Mangrove oysters
• Salads of raw fish marinated in lime juice
• Bougna (fish or chicken wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on hot stones covered with sand)
Tipping: There is no tipping
Regional drinks: There is a good selection of French wine available which is more affordable than in Australia.

Nightlife

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The Bodega nightclub in Noumea.

New Caledonia’s urban sophistication comes to life at night. Head to Anse Vata Bay or Baie des Citrons and enjoy an aperitif and live music as the sun goes down.

Choose one of the many dining options for a taste of gourmet French cuisine with fresh South Pacific produce and tropical island views.

If you are in the mood, dance the night away to the rhythms of the South Pacific at La Bodega del Mar or MV Lounge.

 

French shopping in a tropical, cosmopolitan city!

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New Caledonia has the best shopping in the South Pacific if you’re looking for designer goods as many of the brands aren’t available on other islands in the Pacific. In Nouméa, boutiques sell fashionable French clothes, mainly casual but sometimes haute couture. Other purchases include luxury French goods such as perfume, jewellery and footwear, and silk scarves, sandals and handbags from France and Italy can also be found.

Visit Chinatown for its colourful shops and Asian snacks for a surprising change of scenery. A short distance away, the Quartier Latin is great for bargain hunters at the markets and Faubourg Blanchot and the old districts of the Vallée du Tir and Vallée des Colons feature a colonial ambience with old wooden houses, ironwork decorations and flowering gardens of hibiscus and bougainvillea.

For more information on Noumea and New Caledonia visit http://www.haveitall.com.au/#tab41

What are your travel tips for Noumea?