Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for Petanque

Another short one today.

I love the French tradition of Petanque. Virtually every town and village has its own boulodrome, a flat, dusty area set aside for the gentle game.

Sometimes called boules, after the balls that are used, it is a team game of enormous popularity. There are apparently 375,000 people registered with Fédération Française de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal, and that's just the people who take it really seriously.


Retired gentlemen on a weekday afternoon, groups of young adults on a Friday evening, families at the weekend, the boulodrome gets good use.

You chuck a little wooden ball (the cochonnet or 'piglet') as far as you can and then see who can get their boule the closest.

We play it on the beach with the children, using garish heavy plastic balls. The curve of the sand and incidental shells and footprints make for an interesting outcome.

I thoroughly recommend Petanque. Fun for all the family and can be played virtually anywhere, though a hot, sandy ground under pollarded lime trees is the most authentic endroit. Especially with the smoke from a Gauloise or two wafting through the air.


  1. It's called 'boules' in Australia, too. A game to pack with your camping gear, it seems.


  2. I've played this before, but I know it as "bocce"-- Italian for "kiss," because you try to "kiss" the little ball with the big ones. One of my family's favorite outdoor games. :)

    stopping by from the A to Z-- I'm at :)