Papeete Tahiti in the Footsteps of Gauguin

Papeete is one of the 14 Society Islands that stretch from Easter Island to New Zealand, where tourism is the basis for most of their economies. Black pearls are also cultivated in this area.  The water is beautiful, making water sports like swimming, snorkeling, diving, surfing and catamaran sailing very popular.  Like many islands in the area, Papeete is of volcanic origin.  Barb chose a shore excursion to follow “In the Footsteps of Gauguin” after being encouraged to do so by her friend Barbara Dempsey.

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The Paul Gauguin Museum, which honors the artist, is set in a spacious tropical garden. Gauguin lived n French Polynesia from 1891 to 1893 and from 1895 until his death in the Marquesas Islands in 1903. This museum featured an interesting retrospective of the artist’s tortured life in the islands through documents, letters, writings and his household objects.  None of Gauguin’s original paintings are on display here, but many copies are arranged chronologically. The museum will close February 1 for many months so that a completely new facility can be constructed.

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The last stop on the tour was at the sacred site of Marae of Arahurahu. Although in its day it was not the island’s most important marae, Arahurah Marae is a national treasure and is the only restored example on the island.  Later missionaries were appalled by lewd local religious practices that included human torture and killing.

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Maraes are vestiges of the traditional pre-European Polynesian culture and remains of these ceremonial sites can still be found on Moorea as well as Tahiti.  Polynesians gathered at pyramidal marae  to discuss matters of importance to the community or to worship gods and venerated ancestors.

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3 Responses to “Papeete Tahiti in the Footsteps of Gauguin”

  1. I have not commented to each post because of a lack of time,BUT I am fascinated by your stops and your excellent photographs. This is all so fascinating. And what a great way to “armchair travel”. You provide so MUCH information! Keep up the great reporting. I am loving it. My best, as always. Barbara

  2. Wonderful. Love Gauguin. Fascinating pictures.

  3. Barbara F. Greenstein February 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Those statues would give me nightmares! Thanks for your erudite and fascinating trip itineraries & gorgeous pix you take so well. Andy and I had planned to go to Tahiti etc so it’s doubly interesting to me. Asked your husband to come to the Cypress for lunch or dinner…didn’t realize Carolyn didn’t go with you so shall include her too. Can’t wait to see you when you return. Been too long! Seamus sends his finest canine regards Much love..Barbara

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