Petanque is a traditional favorite of amateur sportsman in France. But it's only when you travel around French towns and villages that will you pick up on the fact often missing from French tourism guidebooks.
In St. Paul Vence, near Nice, players
compete in a game of petanque
in the village square.
is petanque and how do you play?
(or with the correct French accent, Pétanque), is pronounced "pay-tahnk"
and is one of Europe's most popular outdoor games.
The sport is quickly gaining
an international following and growing in popularity as more people are introduced
to the simplicity and fun of playing.
game is extremely easy to learn but challenging
Anyone who can roll a relatively small steel ball (called a boule)
can enjoy the sport. Preschoolers and their grandparents have an equal chance
to win a match. Families and friends can play together, almost anywhere, without
having to invest in expensive equipment, special uniforms or sports club membership
or rolling a steel ball at a smaller wooden ball (called a cochonnet) or
at an opponent's steel ball to knock it away from the cochonnet is the
basic action in the game. The
simple toss is just the beginning of the technique behind a good petanque match
or in fierce competition in the International Championships.
team has the boule closest to the cochonnet when all the players have finished
throwing wins. Take a look at the video for a more complete explanation of scoring.
origins of the game go back at least as far as the Greeks and Romans The Greeks
used round stones as the boules and the Romans used wooden balls covered with
iron. During the Middle Ages, boules players were called "bouleurs".
golf in Scotland,
Petanque was banned in France during the 14th century. Both Charles IV and Charles
V outlawed the sport which had become such a popular leisure activity for knights
and their ladies that it interfered with training in archery and other more warlike,
the 16th century the game prevailed. Pope Julius II brought together the first
recorded international Petanque competitions. Whether through superior skills,
divine intervention or the inability of anyone to tell the Pope he was wrong...
his team, made up of the top Italian boulers, won in play against the French,
the Venetians and the Spanish!
Italian, boules translates to bocce or boccia. There are two types of Italian
bocce, Volo and Rafa. Volo Bocce is exactly the same as Petanque. Although the
games are very similar, the more popular Rafa Bocce uses composite balls, throws
the ball overhand and has other differences in play and rules.
Learn more about Petanque, one of the favorite worldwide recreational activities
and a very serious sport, with additional info on competitions, organizations,
the sport's origins, the rules, tactics, tips from the pros, how to buy the best
equipment for your game and other little known facts...
More about petanque around the Web:
- Not affiliated with any group, this community site has been up and running for
a decade and is chock full of all sorts of goodies on how to play, how to win,
pictures, videos, links... you name it...
Boule Bleue - Tips from the pros - The site is the home page of a company
that sells equipment for Petanque. The French version works fine, but some of
the English pages are missing. The advice from the pros tips are really helpful
with animated illustrations for shooting and much more. The create
your own boule pages walk you through customizing your own steel balls. Check
out the entire site for great info and resources on the game and it's traditions.
(Pétanque) - Discover France offers a great primer on how to play
the game, what equipment you'll need and how to choose the boules that fit your