Nouméa is the capital city of New Caledonia and has the ideal blend of French culture and South Pacific scenery.
Its classy Parisian-style restaurants and cafés are complemented by vast stretches of unspoilt beaches and crystal-clear ocean water. Aside from water sports and thrilling adventures, the city’s aquarium and zoo provide ample opportunities for fun family outings. Brush up on your French to chat with the locals, who are renowned for their welcoming attitude toward visitors.
What could be a greater indicator of Nouméa’s French influence than the structure that towered for two years over the 19th-century Parisian skyline?
The Amédée Lighthouse, which was built in Paris, measures 55.8 metres high (183 feet). Climb to the top to enjoy impressive views of the ocean and parts of the surrounding islands. Get a close-up view of the sea life in a glass-bottom boat in which you will see colourful fish pass beneath you. Go snorkelling or scuba diving to get even closer to the exotic creatures.
You may prefer to view the fish from behind the safety of a thick pane of glass. Enjoy the constantly changing show in the giant tanks of ocean fish in the Aquarium des Lagons. See bizarre creatures from the depths of the ocean you never knew existed, such as chambered nautilus and unicorn fish.
If you love birdlife the Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park is for you. Look for unusual birds, the kagus with striking crests and the notous or imperial pigeons. Enjoy the quiet as you walk past lakes and trees in the scenic park.
You can spend hours exploring the many bays along Nouméa’s gorgeous coastline. Spend the afternoon sunbathing with your family on Anse Vata Beach. If you need a break from the sun, there are boutiques and casual French bistros all along the promenade.
Experience the sights and sounds of a typical French marché at the Port Moselle Market. You can treat yourself to an authentic croissant, pain au chocolat or fresh fruit or a cheese-filled croque-monsieur. French cuisine is also on the menu at the classy bistros around town where you’ll find great food and international wine menus.
Get a flight to New Caledonia Airport, which is situated 32 miles (51.5 kilometres) northwest of its capital city. Use the Little Train to get around or hop on a bus.
In Nouméa, September and October are the driest months with the most agreeable temperatures, although the weather remains very warm to hot year-round.
If you dreamed of a Paris with better weather and seaside activities, you may just find it in Nouméa.