January 31, 2007

Petanque in parking lots

The prior post reminded me that...

Parking lots are common petanque places in France. It helps that in the South they are all crushed stone!
These are some pics from St Remy de Provence. This lot is packed with hundreds of cars on market days, almost empty on weekends. But there's always enough space in one of the (shady) corners for 2 or 3 games.

For big tournaments they bring out cans of chalk paint and mark out courts to keep things orderly. On that particular day there were 114 courts. It went on till late at night. The next morning, everything back to normal.

January 30, 2007

Petanque in Huntsville, AL

Rocket City Petanque Club is up & running, and meeting weekly on Saturday at 2pm.

Way to go, Ken! A parking lot in the heart of town. Easy parking, drinks, snacks & boules in the trunk, and people passing by watching you play. You may need some shade in the summer, though.

But - once again - the fact that you're playing in such a public spot should make it easier to ask the city for some trees, and benches. The cost will be minimal compared to building a new terrain. Plus they will see it being used already. The key question of every parks department: "Are you sure it will be used ?"

Rocket City Petanque Club
Location on Google Maps

January 29, 2007

Florida Cup - Seaside 3/4 Feb

If you want to have an idea what Seaside looks like:

MSN Australia recently made a nice "getaway" report with video.
Including an interview with Dave, owner of Bud & Alleys, petanque player and member of Kiss the Pig Société.

Seaside was the set of the 1998 movie The Truman Show, directed by Australian Peter Weir, written by New Zealander Andrew Niccol, and starring Jim Carrey.

Seaside - report
Seaside - video (runs on IE only)

January 27, 2007

Boules in 1910

A sunny afternoon on the island of Barthelasse, smack in the middle of the Rhône river, across from the famous bridge of Avignon.

Petanque is still very popular in Avignon, witness this annual Celebrity Tournament along the Rhône. The dress code has changed dramatically. More ladies too!

January 26, 2007

Petanque in New York

A beautiful 6-page article appeared this month in Provence Magazine, a sort of "House & Garden" dedicated to Provence. Their team flew in from France last June and hung out for a week with our friends of La Boule NY, just when they were having their annual Madagascar Open Tournament.

Besides excellent shots like the above, some interviews with the variety of members of the club, the story of Alfred Levitt , the pioneer of pétanque in this country, and a list of places to go.

Now, if only House & Garden would do the same!

We've said it before, Bryant Park is the example we hope many cities will follow. Some park designers like to create a pretty place to look at, with things like fountains, sculptures and intricate paved walkways, forgetting that people like to come to a park if they can do stuff.

The simple fact that, instead of pavers, the folks of Bryant Park opted for crushed stone walkways has allowed La Boule NY to hold tournaments and teach classes there. Yet 99 % of the time, the walkways can be used by anyone.

By the way, we are working with La Boule NY on the idea of having a Petanque Weekend in NY on July 13, 14 & 15 - in honor of the 100 th anniversary of petanque. Three tournaments, one each day in a different location. One of course being the Brooklyn Bastille Day tournament on July 15, now in its 6th edition. More about it as things develop.

January 24, 2007

Petanque in Petaluma CA

Few, if any, city names alliterate with petanque like Petaluma.*
That was not the topic of the Parks Commission of the City of Petaluma last week, but they did accept a proposal to build petanque courts in Oak Hill Park. It will now be presented to the City Council. Good news for the many players in that area.

Internet is a dream. You can read the discussion and even watch the video of the meeting.
A good primer for others who want to approach their parks department.

Commission meeting 17 Jan (scroll down to New Business)
Agenda & Video
Oak Hill Park on Google Maps

*Incidentally, so does Petare (close to Caracas, Venezuela), and they play bolas criollas big time there.

January 23, 2007

Petanque in Tunisia

Benji Tosi of San Francisco shot this video of the Italian petanque team while in Tunis last April for a bocce tournament. You'll see some good shooters.
Benji is one of the very few volo players in the US. Very committed as you can see on his extensive website.
But.. he is now also training for an upcoming petanque tournament. I would think that if you can shoot a boule 40 ft away while running, you can probably hit it at 20 ft standing still as well...
Good luck Benji!

January 22, 2007

Pastis +10

A parody on the famous Adidas World Cup (soccer) commercial, concocted by Mickaël Cohen, a young and prolific Marseille filmmaker.

He made it in 24 hrs, right when the World Cup was on.
Of course, if you haven't seen the original commercial, it doesn't make sense. If you have, it's quite funny.

January 21, 2007

St Paul de Vence

One of the most famous petanque spots in France, where also many Americans discovered it, is the medieval town of St Paul de Vence, some 20 mi west of Nice.
It was the hangout of painters such as Chagall and Matisse, and actors Fernandel, Yves Montand and Lino Ventura.
Many a film shooting got delayed because the actor buddies had to finish their games first. A matter of priorities.

A café terrace, huge plane trees, and an area of dirt & gravel: the perfect combination.

January 20, 2007

Petanque clubs in the USA

Maps speak better than text, so here are the clubs again.
Blue dots are FPUSA clubs, the green dots are groups we know that play on a regular basis.

The highest concentration no doubt is around San Francisco, therefore this close up.

We know there are many more. Let us know!

Click on the pics to enlarge.

January 19, 2007


The US Petanque Federation has just updated the list and contacts of their member clubs across the country, 31 in all, in 13 states + DC.

States with more than 1 club:
California (11), Florida (7) and Michigan, Oregon & Washington with 2 each.

Two new states: Ilinois & Kentucky.
And a new club in Florida: Big Bend Boule Club in Tallahassee (who will be well represented at the Florida Cup).

FPUSA Member Clubs

January 17, 2007

Petanque in Arcadia, FL

Here's another RV resort that has fully embraced pétanque:
Cross Creek, in Arcadia - abt 30 mi E of Sarasota.

They play every night at 7 - the courts are lit.
Eighty players joined in for the monthly all-day tournament today.
Look at those shorts and tanned legs. While the rest of the country is freezing...

Thanks for the photo report to Richard, one of our Canadian friends who spends the winter there.

A place to keep in mind: Cross Creek RV Resort

January 16, 2007

Soft petanque in Paris

The inventor of "la molle" (soft petanque boules) happens to also own - surprise! - a very, very nice bar & restaurant in Neuilly-sur-Seine, just west of Paris, called "La Jatte".

Recently he invited a bunch of French celebs, who are probably also customers, for an indoor tournament.
A write-up on the evening appeared in "Ici Paris", a French "people" magazine. Click on the pic to see the article.

Pardon my ignorance for most names, but I am sure everybody will recognize Jean Reno, aka Capt. Bezu Fache in the Da Vinci Code.
They had a blast, and ended the petanque party with a Provencal aïoli.

Café La Jatte

January 15, 2007

Petanque in Winston-Salem (6)

Things are not fair.

While our friends in Oregon had to warm up their balls, we in North Carolina enjoyed bright sunshine and 72° temperatures yesterday.
Dan showed up in shorts, Gary in his Hawaiian shirt.
Two courts were being used by the bocce folks, leaving four for us. Perfect harmony.
And the city of Winston-Salem put in brand new comfortable benches, strategically placed so you can rest your legs on the court borders.

Gary picked up some cheap kids clocks in a dollar store that work very well as scoreboards.

We were 15 players this Sunday, and always had at least 3 games going on at the same time. A good start for 2007!

Next meeting:
Sunday Jan 21 - same place.

January 14, 2007

Petanque in Dallas, Oregon

The folks in Dallas never give up.
Daryll, one of the players, has a nursery with lots of space and - just as important - all the equipment to guarantee play whatever the atmospheric conditions may be.

The picture below shows the play area in summer, surrounded by bamboo.

Come winter, rain and snow, they pull out brooms and their patented boule warmer!
Click on the pics to see these creative, fun-loving, lower middle-aged guys having a ball.
If you ask me, besides the hats, gloves and boots, there's got to be something else that's keeping them warm.
Probably in that tent.