This new beach series for Tempting Tuesday has really got me dreaming of some new travel destinations around the world! This week Andi Perullo from My Beautiful Adventures shares with us an idyllic spot in the South Pacific that is perfect for Francophiles. (And she is right … I had never heard of it before!) Be prepared to start dreaming . . .
My first foray into the South Pacific was to an archipelago that is unknown by most. While New Caledonia is less than a 5 hour plane ride away from Australia, it is like stepping into a whole other world, and a surprising one at that. Physically it could not be more any more exotic, however, it is a French territory and has a distinct French feel. The national language is French, the currency is the Franc and the cuisine has a strong French influence, making this a dream-come-true for Francophiles. It is quite an interesting mix!
To get to New Caledonia, one must fly into the capitol city of Noumea. Noumea is considered to be the most westernized capital in the South Pacific. Although Noumea is incredibly charming, the real New Caledonia exists in the outlying islands. Only having a few days to explore, I chose to visit Isle of Pines, which is only a 25 minute plane ride away.
Isle of Pines is often nicknamed “l’île la plus proche du paradis,” or the closest island to Paradise. I know that too often travelers claim that they have found “the most beautiful place on earth” and that phrase has now become cliché. Fortunately, sounding cliché does not bother me, thus without hesitation I say the same about this 8 mile long island.
The place to stay is Le Meridien and to call it a luxury resort is an understatement. It is nestled amongst a lagoon and has private access to a glorious part of the New Caledonia Barrier Reef.
Isle of Pines gets its true name from the fact that it is saturated with pine trees. The rich smell of pine in the air is intoxicating, especially while floating in the tranquil warm water of the ocean.
I spent most of my time snorkeling and simply just soaking up everything that the island had to offer. Time truly stops when you are there.
I do hope that everyone is able to make the long journey there someday, as I promise it is worth it. As the French say, “Bon voyage!’
Andrea Perullo is a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day, travel addict by night. When she is not treating patients, she is exploring the world or dreaming of the next place to visit. She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs at My Beautiful Adventures.