Country: New Caledonia  Region: Oceania
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Nearby:  Australia Vanuatu Nauru Tonga Solomon Islands 
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Noumea is the largest city in and capital of New Caledonia. One of the most westernized capitals in the Pacific Islands, it features beautiful beaches and colonial mansions and is not yet a heavily touristed destination. Where metropolitan French will hear a bad French accent, wince and say that they speak English, the Francophones of New Caledonia are either less willing or less able to accommodate Anglophones. It is probably a matter of capability, since they are marvellously willing to persevere in determining what it is that a foreigner needs. Without tourist-level French, you may find yourself lost--but it's a lovely place to be lost! The French spoken by Kanaks is much harder to understand than the French of people in Paris: on a par with Breton French (or think of the challenge offered by broad Scots or Yorkshire for a naive English-speaker).

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