February 28, 2006

Small world ...

Last Friday we got an e-mail from someone stationed at the 21st TSC in the Kaiserslautern area (SW Germany): he had just discovered the game on vacation and wanted to continue playing asap. Could we mail petanque sets to an APO box?
Of course we can and do so regularly but - given his location and the time the boules would take to reach - we did some research and directed him to a store close by so he could start playing right away.

Todays' reply, 3 days later:
Thank you so much. I went to the Decathlon store in Sirling Wendel, France, just across the border. I got a set of 3 Boules (competition) and 8 Boules for play with friends. I am looking forward to playing this wonderful game as often as I can. Thank you for all of your help. I enjoy your website.

Score: Sales 0 - Petanque 13 !

February 27, 2006

Tournament in Frostproof, FL

Today started a week-long tournament at Camp Inn Resort in Frostproof.
There are close to 100 regular players at the resort.
Camp Inn Social Director Peggy Andrews threw out the first boule and the games were off.
Petanque is the fastest growing activity at Camp Inn and many other resorts in the area.
It was a bit windy and chilly today but the spirits were high.

Thanks to Dennie Henley (from MI) who sent us these first pictures.

February 26, 2006

Boule diameters & weights

Petanque players often talk about boule diameters and weights.
How big are the differences really?
Let's visualize the officially permitted ranges (click on the image).

Diameters: I drew them to scale but of course the result will depend on your screen and resolution. I used 1024 x 768 pixels on a 19" screen.
Not that much, right? Although an extra millimeter can make or break a carreau.

Weights: is a simple graph, that shows the proportion. The 150 grams range represents 23 % of the minimum, or 18.75 % of the maximum. Again a rather small window.

Canadian players in Florida for instance love to play with very heavy boules, 800's if possible. But I think this has to do with the fact that they often play on very soft terrain. A heavy boule will then really sink in, hard to be displaced.
In France, 80 % of players use average diameters (72 to 74) and weights (700 to 730).

Comments anyone?

February 24, 2006

Petanque: Boules Down Under

Though on "a slow boat from Sidney"... the box made it to Miami. We now have Egon Pozniak's book available for sale online. Both Egon and I were getting a bit desperate. Almost 3 months since he put them in the mail down under. But that's all history now.

It's a nice book. Simple, to the point. You can probably read it in an hour or two, but will certainly pick it back up later on to review some of the techniques.

A review on petanque.org

To order online. Price US$ 18.95

World Cup qualifier in Sonoma

Valley of the Moon Petanque Club announces its World Cup Championship Qualifier Tournament on June 3 & 4. The winning team will represent the US in Grenoble in September.

Knowing the folks at the Sonoma Club, that promises to be a fun weekend. Have a look their very attractive website, and look at their busy calendar for 2006, starting this Saturday, Feb26.

Here is the press release:

February 21, 2006

Boule holders

One thing I noticed when visiting RV parks in Florida last week is the variety (and creativity) of boules holders at the ends of the courts. Just like a bowling alley. One was made of split 4" PVC pipe, the other in good old crafted wood.
Also, I observed how players pick up all the boules, irrespective whose they are, and put them on the holders for the next round. A very courteous custom.
Pick-up magnets I saw few. As one lady commented: "I love to play petanque, because I am forced to bend down many, many times during an afternoon. Good for my back!".

February 20, 2006

FPUSA 2006 tournament schedule

Here's the FPUSA schedule for 2006.

Click for a printable version.

The first National is the National Triples at South Florida Petanque Club , on April 8 & 9.

The weekend of Nov 11 & 12 is not taken. If we go ahead with the Petanque America Open this year, we will do it that weekend. We're waiting on sponsors to confirm their participation. If you know any potential sponsors, do ask them to contact us.

February 19, 2006

Petanque leaflet

For those who haven't seen it:
at the occasion of our PA Open Tournament in November, we asked FPUSA to prepare a little brochure to hand out to people who would walk by that weekend.
The result is very nice:
colorful, brief, to the point yet with sufficient information to tickle people's curiosity.
Every group that plays in public areas should have some handy. It beats looking for a piece of paper and a pen right in the middle of a game!
We noticed people start reading it on the spot and stick around which in turn gives players the opportunity to talk to them and offer to try the game themselves.
Since then, we have been putting one in every boules shipment that goes out.

For a quick look click on the pictures below:

or download the original PDF file (2.9 Mb), for a crisp printout.

February 17, 2006

The history of pastis

We have a new book available in our store:
"Petit traité savant du Pastis".
In French only - unfortunately.

It is loaded with photos of vintage posters and pastis paraphernalia, plus numerous stories and anecdotes starting from the first trace of anise - 7,000 years ago in Nippur, capital of the Babylon Empire.
Of course a chapter about absynthe and the ensuing prohibition. And the story behind todays' brand names.

Price: $ 24.95
(the price in France is 21 Euro).
To order

US shipping is calculated automatically.
We can ship it anywhere outside the US for $ 10.00

Laetitia Casta

After those cold winter sights, let's move a bit further south...

This picture of supermodel Laetitia Casta (Guess, l'Oréal, Ralph Lauren, etc..) appeared on petanque.org a few years ago.
Now we know she has good taste in games as well!

She will shortly star in two new movies: "La Fille aux Yeux d'Or" and "Le Grand Appartement".

For more about Laetitia.

February 16, 2006

Winter pétanque

With more & more clubs up north (WA, OR, MI, IL, and now MN), it may be time to start looking at our Scandinavian friends for inspiration.
Here's an example of the Helsinki Petanque Club in Finland. It looks like they took over an old factory building and fixed it up for winter play. Here's their website (PDF).

My Finnish is non-existent, but I can make up that they have 12 courts and a total area of 7,700 sqft. I am sure that in the states above one must be able to find an abandoned or at least cheap building. Or am I dreaming..?
Can some of our friends from Finland (Jukka?) , Norway (Stig?), Sweden or Denmark give us some input on how they went about it?
It is obvious that our Michigan friends are suffering severely from petanque withdrawal symptoms. To the point where they're playing marbles and have even appointed a dog as VP..!! We can't have them go through another winter like that.
Thanks in advance for any input from the European northern front.

New club in Minneapolis

A new club is starting up in Minneapolis, MN.

They will playing every other Sunday during the summer.

Contact: Don Holzschuh at

Minneapolis Petanque Club
"Boules d'acier"

The ultimate photo album

64 beautiful photos of our November tournament by Martha Lewis.

Thanks Martha!

If possible change your screen setting to 1280 x 1024 pixels.
PA Open 2005 album.

Martha and Alec Stone Sweet also prepared an extensive report with pictures of the last World Championships in Brussels, which you can see here.

February 15, 2006

Tanglewood Petanque Club

Tanglewood is a 55+ community just N. of Sebring, in central Florida.
They have been playing pétanque for years and take it very seriously - while having fun, of course.

First of all the 8 courts are spotless, very well maintained. Just like the entire community, by the way. With shaded seating areas for those hot Florida afternoons.
Several of the +/- 120 members have their role in keeping things organized: tournament schedules, spreadsheets, maintenance, lighting, you name it. A lot of these folks are retired engineers, who make sure everything is always in tip-top condition.
Two of the driving forces behind the club in earlier days, Jack Dobbyn and Alex Legault are honored with beautiful brass plaques.

I was there on a quiet Monday morning, but I understand that when the boules get going, and the drinks & snacks are on the tables, the petanque club gets noisy!

On this picture you see some of today's active members, from L to R: Barry Radawiec (from Cadillac, MI) , Bob and Barb Thulin (from NY) and Wade Greenisen, the actual club chairman (from MN).

Thanks to all for the friendly reception! I will certainly go back to visit in the fall, on one of those noisy evenings!
Tanglewood has its own resident newspaper. Look under "sports" for the latest pétanque club news.

Fou de la pétanque

or "Crazy about pétanque"

Portland Petanque Club in Oregon beat everybody to it.
Here's a report from Philippe Agnesse about last Sunday's event:

We came up with the name for this tournament because we thought we would be playing under cold wet skies this early in the season but that certainly wasn't the case.
Sunny warm weather greeted the 6 teams of doublettes that played on Sunday. We played a round robin format with each team playing the other 5 teams which made for a full day of play. There was good competition and camaraderie all day long and at the end of it all we all enjoyed ourselves thourouly. Nice prizes awaited the top 3 teams including trophies, t-shirts and bottles of cider. The results were as follows:
1st Place - Joe Cortright and Van Wolfe
2nd Place - Pierre and Philippe Agnesse
3rd Place - Roy Ford and Mark ?

Philippe Agnesse
PPC Secretary

February 14, 2006

Bringing players together

One of the most common questions we get is:
"Do you know other people who play pétanque in my area?"
We've had a message board up for many years, but with all the spam robots out there less and less folks are willing to put their e-mail address up for grabs. Rightly so.
On the other hand, we have a database of thousands and thousands of people who have purchased boules from us (thank you!!) over the last 15 years. BUT, we have - and always will have - a strict privacy policy. No name or address goes out the door.

What we can do is the following:
Say you are looking for players in Louisville, KY. You let us know. We send a message to all our clients in the 402.. ZIP code to ask if anyone else is looking. Whoever replies positive, and with their permission, we put in touch.
Call it a dating service for petanque players.
It involves extra work, but we all know petanque thrives when small groups are formed.
And isn't it a shame that there may be someone three blocks from your home playing in his/her backyard as well, yet you'd never know it from each other?