Large shopping malls are reserved for big cities like Noumea in New Caledonia and Cayenne in French Guiana. For most tourists, it is more fun to shop for crafts, souvenirs and other curiosities in the local markets. French Guiana even has its own artisan cooperative known as GADECOOP, which supports villagers and helps them preserve their age-old traditions.
The closest thing to French Guiana’s Gadecoop is New Caledonia’s L’Atelier des Femmes de Nouvelle-Calédonie, a craft workshop that sells different kinds of art and hand-woven products made by local women. Large centers can be found throughout Noumea, many of which combine leisure, shopping and dining.
Marketplaces in small towns and villages in the French Overseas Possessions offer even more arts and crafts, local souvenirs and other unique products to take home at dirt-cheap prices. Popular buys include basketry, wooden sculptures, pottery, embroidery, gold jewelry, bamboo hats, straw goods, and fabrics. You can also buy Tahitian perfumes from Tahiti and Creole dolls, rum and aromatic vetiver roots from Martinique.