The biggest city in New Caledonia is Nouméa. It is located on Grand Terre, the main island of the archipelago. The city is the capital and has a mix of people including European, Asian, Polynesian, and Kanaks. The latter being the native people of New Caledonia.
British trader, James Paddon was the first person to setup a settlement in Noumea in 1851. France established the settlement a few years later to gain control of the island, At first the area was used as a penal colony by the French and later as a place to support and service nearby gold and nickel mines.
The settlement has changed substantially but still bears the marks of its past. Today Noumea is known as a garden city, where nature and urbanisation blend together. Old colonial homes line the streets of this boutique South Pacific city. Shops and cafes have French flair and beaches are a stones throw away.