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Travel to Pacific Islands for French Food

Updated on October 4, 2009

French food and the Pacific Islands doesn’t, at first, seem to go together. However several Pacific Islands, including New Caledonia, were settled by the French and the language here is French. The Pacific Island of New Caledonia is governed by the French and so French food is plentiful and outstanding in this Pacific Island paradise.

I am back in New Caledonia’s capital Noumea for a croissant. Noumea is just a few hours travel from New Zealand and Sydney Australia and so it is easily accessible as a holiday spot for us. I have been there six times now so it remains a firm favorite for a quick escape.

The very first croissant I had ever tasted was bought on my first overseas holiday which was New Caledonia. That was several decades ago and even now, when I think about my daily holiday breakfast then I salivate. Then, I ate my croissant sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach. While waiting to be served, my taste buds tingled anticipating the luscious crunchy exterior with its supremely buttery soft insides. These are, to me, the hallmarks of a perfect croissant. Each time when I’ve visited this Pacific Island nation of New Caledonia I have been treated to divine croissants.

Even subsequent trips to France failed to deliver on my memory. Of course, memories can be a trap – a moment in time special for many reasons – perhaps it was the company of a significant person, one of those perfect holiday days (of which New Caledonia has in abundance), some special music playing can combine to make such memories. So sometimes it can be a fruitless exercise trying to recapture the moment when the circumstances are a little different. Nonetheless on this trip I am on a mission to do just that.

Back in the day, visiting such a different culture was part alluring, part challenging for me as a teenager. With my handful of French words and a dictionary, this was my first time I had traveled to an area where English is not the first language. How would I be able to negotiate my way around Noumea, the Capital of New Caledonia and find tourist sights I wanted to visit and food I wanted to eat?

The language, then, as now, proved to be an artificial barrier. Sign language, a traveler’s phrase book, lots of pointing, patience and a ready smile go a long way. Never once did I get to eat steak tartar when I wanted succulent chicken. I say “bah” to the tales of the French being arrogant – I didn’t experience that.

I found the perfect croissant again and again on subsequent visits to this delightful PacificIsland. One bakery – the La Vielle France located close to the markets has the most divine selection of pastries, croissants, pan a chocolate and the most visually appealing array of all things sweet. I went into overdrive buying a wide selection of treats for consumption later in the day.

If you travel to this Pacific Island and want cheap meals, the local market which is close to Moselle Marina is the place to shop. Here you can shop like the locals selecting the very best produce of the day. It is an excellent spot to buy a divine croissant and have a quick espresso while listening to the locals. I did that many times and the photo shown here is taken in the market.

Dining out in New Caledonia is a gastronomic delight too. Restaurants serving excellent French cuisine are in the majority. This Pacific Island can be expensive and so many restaurants have “package deals” where for a set price you get two or three courses and a glass of wine. It can be a good option for those on a budget.

The Pacific Island of New Caledonia is a great place to travel to for a relaxing beach holiday with excellent French food. Both are in abundance. And, yes, I think my croissant from this special PacificIsland lived up to my memory. Now that’s success!

Coffee in the market
Coffee in the market
An island off Noumea
An island off Noumea
Pacific Island sunset off the back of a boat
Pacific Island sunset off the back of a boat


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    • Leop profile image

      Leop 8 years ago

      Welcome to Hubpages. I just read your hub on French food. I tasting all sorts of the crossants and I have come to appreciate French cooking. Thank you.