Tuesday, May 27

Boules


A traditional boules court in the south of France

When it comes to lawn games and leisure activities the French have the right idea. I spent most of the weekend playing tennis and the game of boules, otherwise known as pétanque, in our back garden. Similar to British lawn bowling or Italian bocce, the French version is traditionally played with metal balls on a dirt surface with a glass of wine or pastis at hand. My kind of game.

Just like horseshoes, boules is extremely simple to play. The game starts with a cochonnet or a small wooden jack. The first player throws the cochonnet (all throwing is underarm) trying to toss the jack 20-30ft (6-10m) down the court. The same player then throws the first boule. The object of the game is to land your boules closer to the cochonnet than those of your opponent. The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass.

The casual form of the game of pétanque is played by 17 million people in France, mostly during their summer holidays, with more than 500,000 players licensed with the Fédération Française de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP). In France, especially Provence, where pétanque originated, it's common for tourists to learn the game from the locals and take a set back home. A great game for the whole family.

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11 comments:

Be the change..... said...

I agree, it takes a lot to get me to do anything sports related; but a glass of wine and a snack always do the trick!

Anne said...

Sounds like my kind of game!

At Home with Kim Vallee said...

It is a great social game. I am planning next month a pétanque party theme.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Mrs. E. and I used to watch the pétanque matches in St. Raph. Bloodythirsty. Pardon the pun, but what a ball. I may have to break out the set this weekend.

The Mrs. said...

I want to build a court at my house! My sister built one and it was fabulous!!!

pve design said...

Reminds me to bring out the set, the croquet and the badmitton too!

ALL THE BEST said...

I'm with you BTC!

Sounds like a fun party Kim!!

How wonderful the Mrs. I'd love to have a court!

Get out the set pve and E&E L!!

serbelloni said...

My son was on a summer program in France and fell in love with petanque (and all things French). Along with a bottle of rose champagne, a beret and a collection of great French music, he brought home a petanque set (very heavy). He is now a French minor in college and even wrote his admissions essay about petanque. He is doing a study abroad program in Aix next fall so I sent him your first photo and told him this is who he could meet playing petanque next semester!

Sabina said...

I've played this game at a French styled B&B once and loved it. Wonderful post!!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

That sounds like so much fun!!

Mara said...

Oh wow....thanks for taking me back to my childhood with this one, Rhonda! I lived in Europe for 7 years as a kid and miss it everyday.