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The Gare Maritime on the waterfront has several black-pearl and other shops. The best is My Flower (tel. 66.19.19), where owner Flora Hart carries not just floral arrangements, but also excellent tapa drawings and woodcarvings -- some from the Marquesas Islands, others done in hue papaa wood, a specialty of Raiatea's own carvers.

Other shops line Rue Centrale, the main street. These days, most are built of concrete and steel, but one wooden building hearkens back to the bygone days of clapboard Chinese stores. In it, you'll find the unique Magasin Vanira (tel. 66.30.06), where owner Jeanne Chane -- the préparatrice de vanille -- prepares many products from vanilla beans: extract, powder, even vanilla soup. The wonderful aroma alone makes it worth a visit.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.