May 31, 2008


Stephan in Tequesta, Florida has his court right next to the pool, plus Fanny on the wall!

But... for larger pétanque gatherings, he can also go to family in nearby Wellington, FL - where he set up a play area of 30 x 60 ft (10 x 20 meter). What a beauty. They can play 2, even 3 games at the same time.

On the right are more images of the construction phase. They brought in crushed stone used for driveways. That's all you need.

Now, we don't want to scare people: a dozer tractor is not a must. But if you have the space, the physical access (in this case, close to the street), ànd the connections), it does beat spreading it by hand!

May 30, 2008

Petanque in Houston!

Richard in Houston alerted me that Discovery Green, the brand new 12-acre, $ 122 mio park in Houston has public bocce courts.
It's right across from the George R. Brown Convention Center.

On the picture you can see that the courts are red decomposed granite - excellent - and that they do not have the usual side boards. Probably to prevent folks from tripping over them. And even better for pétanque!
They planted a lot of trees for shade, and there's a restaurant and a cafeteria (with beer & wine) close by.

The bocce area is in the southernmost corner, where Lamar meets Ave de la Americas in front of the Hilton.

Houston pétanque players, take advantage, and enjoy some of your tax dollars!

Discovery Green website

PS: Richard's brand new boules are on the way so he can start playing there next week.

May 29, 2008

Ladies Worlds 2008?

Update 06/05/07
I hear that Turkey has accepted to do the honors.

Due to recent events in China, the Chinese Federation can not ensure the Women's World Championships this year. The F.I.P.J.P. working to find an organizer who can handle the organization of Women's Championships 2008.
from the International Federation- FIPJP

May 28, 2008

World Championships 1979

The photo of Louis (previous post) came from the British Petanque Association's very first issue of Petanque Magazine, September 1979.

Published right before the 15th World Championships were held in Southampton. Click on the images below to see some of the pages.
Noteworthy: at that time there were only 17 countries represented: Algeria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, USA and Venezuela. Most countries came with two, some with three teams.

That year, Italy won, with Monaco second and France third.
Actually from 1978 to 1984 - seven years in a row - France never won, and made 3rd only three times. Since 1985 however, they've won 17 out of 23 editions. (see WC archives).

National Singles Champion

On May 17, Louis Toulon won the National Men' Singles championship in Sacramento, CA. Full results and a report of the 6 tournament held that weekend on the courts in Rancho Cordova are on the FPUSA blog.

The same Louis who represented the United States at the 15th World Championships in Southampton, England in 1979 - almost 30yrs ago. He hasn't changed a bit. Same smile as always!

I'm sure you will agree there aren't many sports where age is as unimportant as it is in pétanque.

The great picture on the right comes courtesy of Ken Lee in San Rafael, who has an archive of documents he kept from the late 70's. More to follow!


This is Carl's home court in Santa Fe, NM
Click to see the artful grooming! Once they go at it, that's history!

Santa Fe has a vibrant group of players, on home courts and different public places alike. Many started thanks to "Pétanque Ambassador Extraordinaire" Lew Geer, who can be reached at

May 27, 2008

Petanque wine!

This weekend Michel-Schlumberger wines in Healdsburg, California presented their new wine called... Pétanque.

Peggy sent us these great pictures, and a full report:

Here are the photos of the Michel-Schlumberger Release Party on May 24th. It was a cloudy and drizzly day as we set new low temperature records for a Memorial Day weekend in Healdsburg, but the show must go on so David Spangenberg, myself, Steve Weiss, Mary Caldwell and Liz and Rich Pembroke showed up to about 50 wine club members and guests wanting to experience the wine and the game.

The piste is available to use by visitors of the winery. Equipment is available to borrow from the receptionist. Photos include the president of MS and wine maker, Judd Wallenbrock and Mike Brunson dressed in their interpretation of Marseille style, wine label (front and back) up close, my still life composition of the just released Viogner and the soon to be released Vin Rouge and lastly, the piste. You will note that they are using wine barrel straps as throwing rings.

Tasting notes: The Viogner was quite pleasant, crisp and very dry, however, due to very recent bottling (2 days before) the wine was "bottle shocked" so most of the lovely fruit and flowery flavors were quite muted. Although the wine was released for sale officially last Saturday, it was advised not to drink it for 6 to 8 weeks. The Rouge (we were told is a syrah) is slated to release in 2 months and was not available to taste.

As a side note, Michel-Schlumberger is owned by Jacques Schlumberger who is a descendent of one of the oldest wine making families in France. He carries on his family tradition of winemaking here in the Dry Creek Valley and produces mostly Bordeaux style wines using sustainable farming techniques unique to this area. The wine name "Petanque" was an idea developed by MS President Judd Wallenbrock as a "second label" brand to their Benchland Estates premium wines. Generally, second labels are more affordable wines sold alongside their premier brands and offered under $20 a bottle. Wine names are trademarked in the wine industry so technically no other wine maker can use the name again. Judd noticed that the name "Petanque" was available and quickly grabbed it up. I was told that because M-S has not ventured into the second label market before, the Petanque wine is sort of an experiment thus only 350 cases were produced and they expect 250+ to be bought by their club members. The remainder, being such a small lot, will probably go fast at $18 a bottle.

Update 03/07/09: Petanque Wines website

May 26, 2008

World Record reports

Jeff's full Monday morning report with tons of pictures & video

From my side, I'd like to pay a special tribute to (15 yr old) computer whiz David, who set up and managed to keep the live video feed running against all odds, so people from all over the world (me included) could watch, and - lots of fun too - chat. Family of several players as well as petanque enthusiasts.

Suddenly Adrian from Aoyama Petanque in Japan "walked in":

Very early Sunday I called my friend Jac of, who posted it immediately, and there came a wave of French visitors:

The chat room turned into a worldwide "Petanque Sports Bar", minus the booze.
Thanks David!

Boule busters

For several years French boules makers have been pointing out that the "no name" boules on the market (made in China as we all know) are filled with sand & rubbish.
Obut f.ex. has a comparison on their website with photos. One could merely dismiss it as "sour grapes" for not being able to compete with Chinese prices. And whether they're recyclable or not is rather irrelevant.

BUT they are absolutely right that a ball full of sand and stones is a far cry from a hollow boule, which is what they should be: hollow, and consisting of metal only, i.e steel, bronze or any other alloy.

I wanted to break one open myself and see with my own eyes what the story is. Without the right tools that's not an easy task. But a friend of a friend here in NC did have the solution:

Fast & easy, for a good shot at least, which he was!

Some of the filling flew out on impact, but below you see the result close-up: sand, stones, pieces of wood, rubbish indeed. You also see how thin the wall is, as compared to a genuine, hollow boule. About half the thickness.

(click on the image for details)

So if you ever wondered why those "no name" boules don't always roll straight, now you know why!

Petanque on Mars?

After the exciting events in Rochester, MI -- we now return to regular programming.

NASA's spacecraft Phoenix has just landed on Mars, and from the first photographs it looks like a perfect surface to play pétanque! Who knows, one day we'll see:
First Intergalactic Petanque Tournament - Mars - April 1, 2112. (BYOB)
Am I the only lunatic (hey, another "ball"!) who sees dirt and thinks petanque??

More on

May 25, 2008

Live video from Detroit

And they continued until 5:20pm and reached the target of 48hrs!!
Congratulations to all participants and organizers.
In the first place Joe & Jeff who have spent months to make it happen. Good night(s) to all!!
They did it, at 9:10 am!
40hrs 10min. Now on to the 48hrs

Even if there is no signal - the "chat" function works. That's where we all talk. Please join in!

Aux spectateurs depuis la France: laissez un petit mot d'encouragement pour les joueurs dans le "Chat" !

Europe is watching!

Visitors at 7:00AM ---->

To break the existing record they need to play till at least Sunday May 25 - 9:10 am.
Detroit, MI time is GMT -5.

Also watch David's updated photo album.

Read more about the World Record attempt below.

World Record - Detroit

If you're in the Detroit area, make sure to go to Rochester this weekend where players from all over the country will try to play petanque non-stop for 48 hrs.
40 1/2 hrs is sufficient to break the previous Guinness Record.

World Record website

Taking place during the Heritage Festival with plenty of activities for the family:

Good luck guys & gals, hoping that on Sunday we can all delete the word "attempt" and replace it with "Guinness"!

May 21, 2008

Carolina Open (2)

It was a success from all angles: the setting, the weather, the excellent organization by Gary (with the usual solid support from Shirley and friends) and most important a bunch of wonderful people.
Twelve players from out of state (some drove for 4, 6, even 8 hours) and 24 from all over North Carolina. A lot of phone numbers were exchanged. And plans for more petanque get togethers are already in the making.

But there's nothing that says it better than pictures:

Carolina Open slideshow & video (7 min. with sound)

If you have a choice of browsers, use IE - it loads faster.
To get out of the slideshow, just move your mouse and click X.
All pics are hi-res, and you are welcome to copy them.

More pics are coming in so the slideshow keeps changing. Already many thanks to Francois & Shirley.

May 18, 2008

Carolina Open (1)

The first Carolina Open tournament was a big success.
18 teams plus family & friends came, from all over the place, for a day of fun, fierce competition, and new friendships.
Slideshows take longer to make than uploading a video, so let's start with this clip to already give you an idea of the setting and the atmosphere.

Petanque vanity plates

Now that "Petanque" is taken in North Carolina, Gary came up with a brilliant alternative, which he unveiled at the kick-off party for the Carolina Open Friday night!
You'll read more about Gary's creative spirit later on.

Petanque vanity plates

May 17, 2008

King of the Mountains at Oakhurst

Oakhurst did it again! With thanks to Jan Claire for his report:

May 17, 2008.

Petanque played strictly for laughs as the King penalizes any team which is walking away with the game score. Be winning at 12 to 1 and you can expect a visit from King Ingólfur “Tenaya” Arnarsson, 47th generation descendant of the original King Arnarsson who discovered Iceland in 874!

The King imposes such penalties as having to play with a magnetic cochonnet, tossing boules only with a three-person slingshot (bungee cords held by two players, the third pulling back to launch the boule), cubical-shaped boules, and such impediments as Carreau penalty cards (replace any of the opponent’s boules with one of your own), Backward Glance – one game must be shot by the offending team by facing AWAY from the cochonnet.

This is an annual event at Oakhurst which has proven as popular as some of the serious championships we host, and brings people closer together in enjoying that petanque can have its own sense of humor. The King is a benevolent king, consequently wide point margins are the antithesis of what he’s all about.

In reality – and this part is true - our “King” is the west-coast-famous Steve Bush of the Los Angeles Petanque Club who, with his wife Dolores, and Max and Gisele Legrand, visited Oakhurst and taught the locals how to play the game back in June of 1999. To honor that occurrence, and the fact that Oakhurst is now nine years old, the club named Steve Bush by his original name, King Ingólfur “Tenaya” Arnarsson.

Members of the club, and the King imposing a penalty on Oakhurst team captain Larry Adams:

CarolinaPetanque Open in Winston - Salem

Sat & Sun May 17 & 18

Tournament program and details

Miller Park on Google Maps

See y'all there for a lot of petanque, and a lot of fun!!

Press Release (PDF)

Update Thu May 15:

We're at about 16 confirmed teams. Including two of the top players in the country: Khalid from Charlotte, and Mamary from Philadelphia. Serious business! As both are also excellent teachers, we will all learn a lot over the weekend.

The courts:

May 14, 2008

An afternoon in Lafayette

Lamorinda Pétanque in Lafayette, California (just east of San Francisco) has been around for 16 years, but in 2007 they moved to a brand new location on St Mary's road in what truly looks like a Mediterranean garden.
Free shaped, surrounded by plants and trees, and bordered by large rocks. Large open spaces, but also cozy shady corners, always wide enough for one game. A dream, to play, and just to be.
I got there early, but surprise guests Ken, Christine, Ellen & Roberto of La Pétanque Marinière drove in from San Rafael to keep me company -- with lunch!
Then came a group of students of St Mary's college with language professor - and pétanque coach - Claude. "You sound just like the guy who sold me my boules!" he said. "What are you doing here??". Small world!!
We all started to play, more club members arrived, and we ended the afternoon with a delicious potluck dinner. The after dinner game got cut short due to chilly temperatures, but the ambiance was as warm as ever.

Slideshow (with music) - 2:00 min

May 13, 2008

Petanque in Brooklyn

If you live in Brooklyn, there is ample opportunity to play!

Brooklyn Boule plays in McCarren Park on Wednesday nights at 8pm (with lights!) and on Sundays at 3pm.
Tristram is always out there, with extra boules, to welcome new players.

Brooklyn Boule Blog

And Brooklyn Petanque holds tournaments on the courts at Pit Stop Restaurant on Columbia St every other Saturday at 11:30am.
They just posted this seasons schedule.

Brooklyn Pétanque

In other words, you can find folks to play with at least two, sometimes three times a week. And train for the Bar Tabac tournament in Brooklyn on July 13!