While the thought of immersing oneself in Parisian art, food, culture and fashion is a very attractive one, the cost of flying to Paris at the moment is close to $5000 just for the airfare alone. So what’s the alternative? Often referred to as a slice of France in the South Pacific, New Caledonia offers the perfect French getaway. It’s located less than three hours away from Australia and you can find return fares for under $1000. 

New Caledonia

Tucked away in the middle of the Pacific, New Caledonia offers a unique and diverse variety of landscapes, cultures and activities. From its stunning world heritage-listed lagoon, islands and coral reefs to the lush forests and hills on the West Coast, there is something for everyone. 

Bursting with a mix of flavours, New Caledonia’s local culture works perfectly in tandem with all of the best parts of France. Not only is the New Caledonian dining scene punctuated with French flavours, but the nation’s chefs have taken it to the next step. 

New Caledonia

Restaurants throughout Noumea and beyond offer the best of French cuisine and fuse it with the inspiration of the various cultures on the islands which include Melanesian, Wallisian, Tahitian and Asian flavours. The mix of cultures means you can enjoy French cuisine one day and a traditional Kanak bougna the next (a stew cooked in a traditional Kanak oven in the ground).  

At Chateau Royal Noumea’s, Restuarant La Pirogue, you can enjoy a foie gras infused in rum vanilla for an entree, a traditional Kanak dish bougna as a main and finish off with profiteroles with choux pastry and vanilla ice cream. 

New Caledonia

When visiting Noumea, you can rent a bike to explore the capital and visit the markets, where you can enjoy delicious patisserie and baguettes. Make sure to check out Chai de l’Hippodrome or Q20 for a relaxing degustation and wine-tasting session. During the Christmas period, there’s also the Nouméa Féerie which transforms the capital into a Christmas Wonderland with fairy lights, the best Christmas food and gifts to bring home to loved ones. 

New Caledonia

The unique mix of nature experiences available on the island makes New Caledonia a very attractive destination for those seeking a more active holiday. Enjoy azure-blue waters among the islands and along the coast in the second-largest lagoon in the world. Plan a trek through the lush forests and hills on the West Coast or traverse vast grasslands and red dirt hiking paths in the Great South. 

Aircalin, New Caledonia’s national carrier offers regular deals to Noumea return for less than $1000 on selected dates. Search for fares and dates here

New Caledonia

Images credits: Air Paradise, John Carter, Asahi Shimbun Media Production, Drones.nc, Oneye Production, Pauline Massé.