August 31, 2006

Bryant Park in the rain

Last weekend were the FPUSA National Doublette championships in NY.
Notwithstanding the pouring rain they kept going and going until dark.

The end results:
1st: Hery Rakotoarivony, Eric Bertin
2rd: Christophe Chambers, Ernesto Santos
3rd: Yngve Biltsted, Franck Petronio
4th: Hans Jepson, Richard "Ti" Meas
Consolante: Franck Labasse, Steve Ginsberg

Thanks to Brian Walsh for the pics, and Ernesto Santos for the info.

Apparently this years Coupe des Amériques in Manhattan on Oct 7 & 8 is shaping up to be a big event. Lots of Canadians are expected!
Further info on

Petanque on Catalina Island, CA

This awesome court is at Moonstone Cove, in the facilities of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

Sun, ocean breeze, palm trees, the surf and ... petanque: hard to beat!

August 28, 2006

Petanque for all ages

Some time ago I mentioned how in our village in Provence the kids of the elementary school get together with the folks of the retirement home - "la maison de retraite" - for a boules tournament.

No fancy setup: the walkways around the home work just fine.

The older generation is always eager to share tips and tell the young ones why they're going to point or shoot.

Although score is kept, it's almost irrelevant. The main purpose is to have a fun morning, to mix 10-year olds with 80-year olds in an activity where everyone is on equal footing. In good provençal tradition, all the teams had lunch together, another opportunity for swapping stories!

Needless to say, it helps that the school is walking distance from the retirement home, that some of the residents of the home still have their own rusted, dented boules from days gone by, and that everyone knows the game, but still - I think it's a brilliant concept that can be duplicated in other countries.

42nd World Championships

Close to 50 countries are expected on September 20 in Grenoble, a beautiful city at the foot of the Alps.

Novelty this year: the World Ladies tournament will be held concurrently.

The championship website is once again a labyrinth with tons of needless Flash presentations...

A quick glance at the US teams:

Hans, Richard, Khalid and Alec are all from La Boule NY.
Our Ladies team is an East & West Coast mix:
Josse Krauer is from La Boule d'Or (SF), Antonia Chavez & Erin McTaggart are from VOMPC in Sonoma, and Marieke Rolland from Boca Petanque 2000 in Florida.

Last June, the Sonoma Valley Sun dedicated a cover story to Antonia's petanque and chocolate making skills.

We wish them all good luck on the courts !

August 26, 2006

Petanque in Margate, Florida

Here's a message from Jose in Margate, close to Fort Lauderdale:

If interested in watching a bunch of old f*rts playing petanque, visit our website and click on the "Sports and Games" tab:

Either I'm an old f*rt myself, or I need new glasses. All I can see is experienced folks playing a hell of a game!

August 24, 2006

How I started playing petanque

A story from Lloyd in L.A.:

OK, the way I found out about petanque: Sometime in the early 80’s.
I was flipping around on the TV channels and came across a movie called: “Once in Paris”. It starred Wayne Rogers of TV’s “MASH” fame. He’s an American screenwriter. Hired to re-write/fix a French Screenplay, he is picked up by a frenchman who becomes his driver. On the way to the studio, his driver asks him if it’s ok to stop and play Petanque...and the rest is history...
I fell in love with the game....

Thanks, Lloyd! Anyone else?

August 22, 2006

Summer in Bryant Park

It's become almost a tradition that some of us, after the Brooklyn tournament, go to Bryant Park in Manhattan on Monday morning to unwind and play a few games before flying back home.
What a beautiful place. Bystanders watch and wonder. Some join in, some come back and become regulars.
If not for the skyscrapers, the yellow cabs and the array of wireless laptops you'd think you're in a southern French city - say Aix or Avignon.
Frederic Bourret sent us these nice souvenirs below. Especially with the delay of most digital cameras it's not always easy to catch a boule "in flight".

August 17, 2006

Building a court

Many visitors land on this blog while searching for tips on how to build a court.
The best resource so far is on here's the direct link to their building archives. You'll see some examples, in different locations. The above picture is of a gorgeous court in Hollywood, CA.

Make sure to read Ray Ager's post of Sept 2002, titled "A campaign for real petanque terrains". He is absolutely right that a plain rectangle with a smooth surface is not a must. An irregular shape, fitting in your natural surroundings, with some trees, bumps and dimples here and there is more natural, more challenging, and improves your skills. That's also why he uses the term "terrain", as opposed to "court".
Of course, everything depends on the space you have available.

The simplest way to start is by asking your local building materials supplier, quarry or contractor how they build a crushed stone driveway in your area. Stone types may differ from state to state, but the principle remains the same: if a car can drive on it, and the top layer is a mix from fine particles up to 1/4 inch, it works perfectly for petanque. In some places that's called "1/4 inch minus" or simply "screenings". The typical term in Provence is "clapicette", or "du zéro/six" meaning anything between 0 and 6 mm: same thing.
And don't forget to start with a weed barrier. It's cheap and will save you hours of pulling weeds.

Petanque in Palm Springs, CA

Unheard of until recently - except at Club Meds, where petanque is standard fare - luxury resorts in the US are starting to include petanque as yet another way to entertain their guests.
Excellent idea!
Here's an example at the posh Parker Palm Springs Resort & Spa.
Click on "Play" and you'll see petanque right between, and 'on par' (couldn't help it) with golf and tennis. After you open the petanque screen concentrate on the picture. Saw it?

Very nice, and kudos to whoever wrote the rules: they're brief, clear, and very funny!

August 16, 2006

Brussels has the biggest boules

A couple of weeks ago I was in Brussels, Belgium and visited the completely refurbished Atomium. It was the landmark of Brussels' 1958 World Fair. Incidentally that was the last time I had seen it up close. Oops!

Impressive, to say the least.
Nine boules, 59 ft in diameter each, symbolising a crystal molecule of metal by the scale of its atoms, magnified 165 billion times.

Numerous celebrities were there in 1958, such as Liz Taylor.
Suddenly I saw what looked like a petanque video. Nope: old footage of one of the creators showing the clay model balls...

The tubes connecting the boules have eerie, kind of "Star Wars" lighting.
Next door is "Old Brussels", also a remnant of the '58 Expo, a vibrant collection of bars and restaurants. Needless to say, we sat there for a good while to recover from the walk. Also saw that Chez Léon, they now serve mussels with ... pastis?? Thanks but no, thanks. I'd rather have the pastis first, and Belgian beer with the mussels!

Mistral Club Summer Open - Boston

"With temperatures soaring well into the 90's F, eight Triplet teams converged on a sunny Saturday at Clemente Field in Boston's Fens area to battle for the 2006 Summer Open tournament.
Pétanque teams were made up of players from the Boston area, Worcester, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York City. Several long, hot hours later, the visitors from NYC captured the Gold, making the long drive up especially rewarding".

Full report on Le Mistral website

Midwest Fall Tournament - Chicago

The Chicago Petanque Club will host the first annual Midwest Petanque Alliance Fall Tournament for doublettes, on Saturday September 23.

Teams from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa will be joining the action at Forest Park Illinois.

Check here for details and to sign up!

August 14, 2006

Petanque in Louisville, KY

PetanqueLouisville, aka "Boules in the Bluegrass" is a new dot on the petanque radar.
Mark Southard and his friends only discovered the game recently but are passionate about turning the greater Louisville area into another hub.

They definitely have the right spirit ànd a new beautiful playing area in Louisville Waterfront Park on the Ohio river.
Welcome Kentucky!!