October 30, 2005

Team from NJ / PA coming

Petanque loving members of the Big Apple Circus enjoyed their own "mini-tournament" this summer.
Co-Founder, Michael Christensen (kneeling) and Vice President, General Manager, Guillaume Dufresnoy (far right), team up and will be here to compete.

Meet the Umpire

The official tournament umpire will be Yngve Biltsed.
Many of you know him from La Boule NY, of which he has been the President almost continuously since 1992.

He is a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, and an architect by training. After discovering pétanque in Southern France in the seventies he started playing at home. Shortly after moving to New York in 1986 he joined La Boule NY as soon as he discovered there was a club.

Yngve has been umpire since 1994 and has officiated at numerous national tournaments.
Of course he is a skilled payer as well and we hope to see him play
at some time when he has a chance.

La Boule NY plays at different locations throughout NYC and has 97 members right now. The Bryant Park courts - in the heart of Manhattan - are beautiful. La Boule NY has an arrangement with the Park whereby on given days of the week one of their members is available to teach anyone passing by. There are lots of shade trees, chairs and tables all around, plus different food stalls.

No doubt this is the best way to promote pétanque. An attractive site, in the heart of town, where lots of people can watch and give it a try. Urban renovation is "in" and urban planners love to include pétanque courts. They are cheap to build and maintain, and provide quiet, friendly entertainment for all age groups. Up to the clubs to knock on the right doors at the right moment! Detroit Petanque Club is now at Campus Martius, and La Boule Rose plays at Jamison Square in the heart of Portland, OR.

Petanque in California's vineyards

Boules and vineyards are a good mix.

"Last August, St Supéry Vineyards & Winery in Napa Valley inaugurated their new French Parc in front of the winery.
One of the most popular attractions that day was pétanque. So it was decided that the pétanque set would be readily available to all visitors coming to the winery. Indeed, it has been a success, just about everyday guests have great fun playing it."

October 29, 2005

New Petanque America logo

Petanque America Open 2005 will also be the opportunity to launch our new logo.
From the somewhat vague


Of course we are sticking to red, white and blue for America - and a hint to the sports' French heritage.
With the silhouette of a crouched player pitching a boule, to clearly indicate 'pétanque' is a ball game, not a line of fancy cooking utensils, a new liqueur or an exotic fruit (we've heard all three).
The professional look expresses our hope that pétanque will eventually join the ranks of other sports that are only a few years older, like basketball (1891) or tennis (1874). Pétanque was 'born' in 1910 - more about that later.
We hope you like it. The new T-shirts and caps will be available on the beach.

October 28, 2005

Tournament location after hurricane Wilma

To relieve the players who e-mailed or called us to find out if the tournament area is still in good shape after hurricane Wilma. Mario is short on gasoline, but our friend Jorge drove by there, very early this morning.
Given the circumstances, everything looks fine. Some debris, less shade under the palmtrees, but nothing to affect our tournament. We are very lucky compared to other areas in Miami and especially to Broward county (Ft Lauderdale area) which suffered substantial damage.
Miami's own Dave Barry issued a special news release today.

The courts area

Ocean Drive North

Ocean Drive South

Palm trees at Lummus Park

October 27, 2005

Tournament dinners & lunches

We believe we found the ideal location for our get-together dinners on Friday 11 & Sat 12.
The Fairwind Hotel on Collins & 10th Street: a typical Art Deco building, right in the heart of South Beach, one small block from Ocean Drive and the beach. Easy walking distance for everyone.
Almost the entire outdoor patio will be ours.
We negociated a fair menu price, wine, tips & taxes included. And - hard to find in South Beach - reasonably priced drinks.
All teams will shortly receive an e-mail to sign up. No obligation, but we are sure the dinners will be fun and a great opportunity to meet and mingle. Clubs and teams are welcome to make a short presentation on how they started, developped, and their plans for the future.

For lunch, we have organized catering right at the courts, on the beach:
a variety of French bread sandwiches plus - remember we are in Miami, aka the 'capital' of South America - an array of delicious Argentinian empanadas.

Petanque America back in business

We have power, thus also light, computers and telephone. And we can start shipping again.
Hats off to the people of Florida Power & Light. They had 6 million households without light. Thanks a lot.
By the way, FPL will also be the acronym for... Florida Petanque League when regional leagues take off as in other countries.

October 26, 2005

Boules on the plane?

A very funny comment, about an unfortunate incident, from batja in nj. Certainly food for thought:

Here's a word to the wise to those planning to fly to Miami.

Please consider checking your bags.

SERIOUSLY, guys. I had a beautiful nearly-new set of competition boules confiscated from my handcarry at Charles de Gaulle Airport last July. Sheesh. *Paris* of all places.

After going through the x-ray scanner, where the smiling agent correctly identified the objects in question: "Boules a petanque, oui?", I was handed over to a big security gorilla who informed me that they'd have to be confiscated--and destroyed--since "On peut tuer quelqu'un....." ("You can kill someone with these things.")

Obviously, he'd never seen *me* play.

Please note that while CDG has a big display case showing all the obvious objects dangereux which are banned from all hand luggage --tweezers, knives, gas canisters, etc.-- boules a petanque are *not* among them.

In spite of that, I had to kiss my boules goodbye at the gate. It was way too late to try to check them through in baggage.

I'm not totally convinced that they were demolished, however. I'll bet there's a game going on in a gravel lot out behind the terminal now, as I write.....

While this may not be a universal airport restriction (I had no problem flying from Madrid with a cheap Chinese set in my backpack the year before---and that was not long after the railroad bombings there, and security was equally tight), why risk losing your prized equipment en route to the Tournament?

So I suggest packing well, and checking your bags through, just in case. It's worth the wait at the carousel. The worst that can happen is that your baggage can get left off the plane at the airport of origin, or misdirected onto a flight to Mauritius. But you'll stand a good chance that it will get recovered somewhere, and you should receive your boules sometime around the end of the Tournament. Maybe someone from the Mauritius team will bring them.

Oh well. In a pinch, the nice guys from Petanque America should have all kinds of new boules and other cool stuff for sale when we get to South Beach......right?

Looking forward to meeting you all in a couple of weeks....

A bientot,

batja from nj

My experience: I saw it for the first time in April '04 at the airport in Marseille: boules were one of the "no go" pictograms at the check-in counter. Couldn't believe it. The Air France agent wondered why on earth I took pictures of her countertop. Unfortunately I lost my camera at the tournament in Seaside, FL days later. I will take another one next week when I'm flying out of MRS and post it here. I also assume this rule applies only in France. You'd never see boules posted as a banned item in - say - Oshkosh, would you? Then again IATA rules are supposed be international. I don't know. Has anyone else had a problem?
BTW, I take back the term "never", because we do hope that one day boules will be such a common item that they *can* be prohibited also in Paris, IA or Antwerp, OH.
In reply to batja's last paragraph: "right"

Une partie de pétanque

Georges Brassens (1921-1981) was - and will always be - an icon in French music history. With simple but catchy melodies, and subtle lyrics, his songs are timeless. Some are crystal clear - at times critical - snapshots of France, its people and their mores.

Although he did not write it himself(*), he often performed this joyful song Une partie de pétanque (a 'round' of pétanque) which he remembered from his younger days in Sète, and made it famous thoughout France. Merci, Mr Brassens!
Listen to it here. Close your eyes, step in the time machine, and you will be transported to a boulodrome in Provence in the mid 1900's.
Like this one in Sanary-sur-Mer:

Close to 200 Brassens songs, sound clips, lyrics and streaming radio.
Petanque.org archive of over 1000 pétanque postcards.

(*) It was written in 1941 and originally performed by Darcelys, a popular singer in Marseille.
Here's the Darcelys version, with intro and accordeon!

October 25, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

Here in France I have been glued to CNN and the internet for the last 24 hrs to follow Wilma's destructive path. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where most of our friends live really got hit hard.
It would seem that Boca Petanque 2000 and the South Florida Petanque Club were almost, if not right in the eye at one stage.
We wish everyone affected a speedy recovery. I hope you get power back soon. When you do, and have a minute, do send us a line at PetanqueAmericaOpen@Gmail.com or just leave a comment. We will all be happy to hear from you.
Very best to all,

Update 10/25
Mario - aka Super Mario - in Miami is fine. Lost lots of shingles, no power. At home, preparing the court markers for the tournament.
Juan in Miami got his power back. Little damage. At home, waiting for his petanque court to dry so he can do some more training!
Update 10/26
Mario got power back at home. Our office is fine, just waiting for lights to come on. I am e-mailing customers from France. Long live internet, and FPL!

October 23, 2005

South Florida Petanque Club

With around 180 members, SFPC is probably the largest club in the country. Yet they have only been around for a little over 10 years.
They have excellent courts in beautiful - 726 acre large - John Prince Park in Lake Worth, FL. Plenty parking, picnic facilities (they eat there a lot too!), rest rooms and total peace & quiet.

A special word of thanks to Dominique Beaufrand, the club's public relations person, who is always ready & willing to help us promoting events.
Needless to say, SFPC will be present in Miami, not only to compete fiercely, but also to teach newcomers how to play the game.

New boule: Obut Bi-pôle

Obut's brand new boules have almost arrived this side of the Atlantic. Actually they are already in the Port of Miami, only awaiting clearance by US Customs.
We will have a few sets at the beach for anyone to try out.
They will be available for purchase in diameters 72, 73 & 74 mm - weights 680 to 730 gr - patterns 1, 2 & 5.

The pattern has a gradual depth. Though hard, resistant to rough terrains and thus long-lasting, their shock absorbing ability is way beyond average. A soft boule with a rough skin, so to speak!

October 22, 2005

Youngest player

The youngest player registered - so far - is Alex Canesse from Sarasota, FL. He is the son and nephew of respectively Freddy and Gilles, the often unbeatable brothers-team. Alex turned 16 on July 21, the day before he represented the USA at the Junior Worlds in Longueuil, Canada.
Alex is an excellent student at Cardinal Mooney Junior High in Sarasota, and president of the school's French Club. He also works as a bus boy in an Italian restaurant and intends to study International Trade at FIU.
The picture is from a recent tournament in Boca Raton, FL.

In Miami Alex will team up with Kate Setear. Originally from Ilinois, she is the Secretary of the Sarasota Petanque Club and won the National Mixed Doubles earlier this year with Freddy Canesse.
Alex and Kate, a team combination one would seldom find in other sports: mixed, two generations (let's just say Kate is a tiny bit older than Alex), and French/American.

Good luck to both!

October 19, 2005

Sonoma club well represented

Valley of the Moon Petanque Club
from Sonoma, CA will be in Miami with 4 teams - so far!
Founded in 1988, it has grown into one of the largest and most active clubs in the country - with 140 members in 2005.
Club president Barbara Hall sent us this collage of VOMPC players and the club grounds, which are next to the historic center of Sonoma.
Barbara also came to our 2003 tournament, then with one team. Here you see her joking with world champion Marco Foyot.

Canadian champion coming

Unfortunately Hery Rakotoarivony who was going to play with Alec Stone Sweet had to cancel his trip. Sorry Hery, we hope you'll be able to make it next time!

Alec will now team up with Yacob Nour, who - with Thomas Pouplot and Redouane Hammouchane above - won the Canadian National Triplets Selection last August, and will thus represent Canada at the 42nd World Championships in Grenoble next year. Yacob is from Laval, Quebec.
He will certainly attract some Canadian supporters: South Florida is the winter home to thousands of Canadians, many of whom play pétanque in parks from Homestead all the way up the East Coast.

October 17, 2005

Tournament area

One reason why we picked this particular spot in South Beach is that - right next to the playing area there's a beautiful lawn with lots of palm trees. For those of you coming by car:
Do bring chairs so you can take a break in the shade.

October 16, 2005


Since most of the teams are flying in, and big cups or trophies are bulky (a pain to pack in a suitcase), we have picked a different kind of souvenir this time.
Flat, light and - at least we think - pretty!
The 8" x 8" detailed and hand painted tiles depict an old fashioned pétanque scene, including Fanny, the legendary "demoiselle" who consoles any team that loses 13 to 0 with a kiss on the cheek.
You can hang them on the wall or display them on the little easel.

October 15, 2005

Texas team with gifts!

Another state to add to the list.
Ken Larson and his teammate are flying in from San Antonio, TX.

Ken is also a photographer and is contributing a few of his beautiful, framed 11" x 17" prints to the prize basket. Like this one. Thanks!
Ken's pétanque experience is typical of a lot of players in the US.

"I've lived in Texas now for 15 years, prior to that Germany for almost a decade, and grew up in Northern Minnesota before that. I ran across petanque for the first time in one of my many trips to southern France, in the Arles area. I was immediately intrigued, and have played since then, off and on. It was my good fortune almost 5 years ago to run into the group I play with here in San Antonio. A great group of guys, and we've another neighboring club in New Braunfels against and with which we play from time to time. Petanque lives on here in Central Texas!"

October 12, 2005

View from above

We are not on Google's payroll (unfortunately..) but the easiest way to see anything from high up these days is Google Earth.
If you have it installed, download this place marker and it will fly you straight to the tournament location.
If not, first download Google Earth -- it's free.
Why not send us place markers of your Clubs, so we can all come and have a look?
We'll start off with a couple:
South Florida Petanque Club - Lake Worth, FL
Detroit Petanque Club, Campus Martius Park (before the park was finished)
Valley of the Moon Petanque Club, Sonoma, CA
La Boule NY, Bryant Park

Miami weather in November?

Players are asking us about the weather in November.
Here are some historical data, in °C or °F, inches or mm.
Shorts and sandals, no problem.
In 2003 (Nov 15 & 16) we had 2 days of full sunshine.
But... rain is always a possibility.

Team arrivals

Arrival times are coming in. Below some of the replies.
It seems we'll see plenty players training (and studying each others' tactics) on the beach already on Friday. Great!
This is a sample of the beach surface. Hard & compacted, with a thin layer of fine sand and shells here and there.

Thanks for your update. Our team plans to get into Miami Thursday evening and leave on Tuesday. Looking forward to it.

Message received ok. We are arriving Thurs evening, so we'll be around for check-in on Friday.
We'll be arriving Friday afternoon and are leaving Monday morning. Looking forward to seeing you.
We (the germans) will
arrive with the same plane like the french guys! Arrival: 10 Nov 2005 AF 090 - 14:45 - Miami, Miami Intl (MIA ), USA Retour: 15 Nov 2005 AF 095 - 17:40 - Miami, Miami Intl (MIA), USA
We are arriving from CA early Thursday
morning. Looking forward to seeing you.
Arriving Friday November 11th 2005 Around 2:30PM
We plan to arrive around 2 PM Friday afternoon.
I will send arrival details shortly. Very exciting.

REALLY looking forward to it. We will be in around noon on Friday.
We plan on arriving Thursday night Nov 10th.
Got the email, thanks, Looking forward to l'apero!!

Tortington Petanque Club

Coming with 3 teams!

"The Tortington Petanque Club of Jupiter, FL would
like to post a challenge to the New Hampshire team, we don't know them, however, we have other "petanqueros" from New Hampshire who are club members and visit during the winter season....and we will be establishing a Tortington Petanque Club of Wolfeboro, NH next
summer. For the record, that is pastis!!!!!!
Also, we believe we are the creators of "Extreme Petanque"!!!!!!"
Randy Brungot, President, TPC

October 6, 2005

German team coming

Alexander Bauer and Manfred Kuhn, both from Bavaria, have just registered. Alexander is also Vice President of the German Petanque Federation. They will send us some more info about their club and tournament experience shortly.
has the world's 6th largest petanque federation, with abt. 13,000 members (Dec 2003).

Which are the other top 10 petanque countries?
France, as expected, with 406,000
Spain: 32,000
Thailand: 26,000
Algeria: 20,000
the Netherlands: 18,000
Belgium: 12,000
Morocco: 8,500
Sweden: 7,000
Japan: 5,000

Complete statistics at 12/31/03 - for all 62 member countries - are here, on the website of the International Petanque Federation.

October 5, 2005

Teams update - October 5

Registrations are speeding up!
Close to 50 teams have now formally registered, from the following states:
California, Connecticut, Florida (of course), Massachussets, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Alec Stone Sweet (picture) from La Boule NY, who did extremely well as the pointer for the US Team at the World Championships in Brussels two weeks ago, will team up with Hery Rakotoarivony, also from La Boule NY.
Definitely a team to watch.

We expect many more teams from NY ( the regulars at the Bastille Day Tournament ) and also several Canadian teams who are arriving in Florida mid-October.

October 4, 2005

Women playing petanque?

It is a fact that in France relatively few women play pétanque.
But those who do are amazing: I saw this lady at a tournament in St Rémy de Provence last week kicking some real butt!
It was a tête-à-tête tournament (one on one) , and she eliminated one guy after another.

Zooming out: all the spectators were men!

In the US the ratio men/women is almost 50/50 and we'll have lots of mixed teams at the Miami tournament.

October 1, 2005

French team coming

We’re expecting quite a team from France :

Jean-Pierre Jardinet and Michel Faurant. Together they placed second in The Poitou Charente League in 1998, they won the Coupe de la Vienne in 2000, and won the First International Tournament in Moscow in 2003.
This year Jean-Pierre has reached quarter finals in several Paris tournaments. Originally from Confolens (Charente), he is now a member of Arènes de Lutèce, one of the very few clubs in the heart of Paris (5th arrondissement). They play in this awesome location, the remnants of a Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century.

Jean-Pierre is an IT manager for Orange, the mobile phone company and speaks English fluently. In his spare time he is also an editor for Boulistenaute.com, a fast growing online petanque magazine (in French).

Update: Jean-Pierre says they often get American tourists who come and play with them at their arena. Maybe we should take advantage of him being in Miami to set up a "Boules weekend in Paris" trip!