May 28, 2009

Cannes, this year

Life Magazine has pictures of the annual Jorge Gallegos Boules Tournament, during the film festival.
Look at the fancy blue woven ribbon along the borders. It is certainly not to protect the wooden beams, nor the boules. Maybe to prevent boules from bouncing back into the play area? Or just to make it look pretty?

Life Magazine

Petanque in .......

Earlier this year I noted that several boules orders went to the same street address in Dulles, VA. "Great", I thought, "time for another marker on our map".

Yes, but not in Virginia. The State Department uses overseas city names for street addresses to simplify the huge flow of correspondence that transits through their services. And thus the pétanque enthusiasts in this case are not in Virginia, but in Mozambique!

Pétanque players at our Embassy in Maputo have regular weekend meets with colleagues from other Embassies and international organizations. Apparently the Deputy British High Commissioner is quite an aficionado. Often the French Gendarmes contingent has the upper hand. Honestly, I would let them win too (once in a while), when I hear that they usually bring goodies like saucisson and pâté!

Many thanks to Brendan (USAF) for the pics!

May 27, 2009

Jardins du Luxembourg

Virgina in Paris posted some delightful pictures while she met with players in Paris' foremost public petanque locale: the Luxembourg Gardens.

The people she played with hailed from Martinique, Spain, Portugal and "the hexagone".

I love the coat rack!

Paris through my lens

May 24, 2009

Mayo Boule-Festival 2009

Next weekend the people of Boulebar in Sweden are holding their annual petanque festival again. A 4-day event with various one-day concours (singles, mixed, veterans, ...) and parties that briefly turns Stockholm into the pétanque capital of Europe.

Very smart, they start off on Thursday with a demonstration / intro for the general public to explain the game. Thanks for the tip, we'll do the same in Amelia Island. I don't speak Swedish, but from the reactions of the public you can conclude Daniel Gillan does a great job:

Mayo 2009

Sweden is definitely one of the countries were pétanque is "in" among the younger generations.

"A new kind of boule, a new kind of bar":

May 23, 2009

Feet fixed or together?

Talking about feet...

In this month's issue France Today magazine lists a number of typical Provence terms, and of course "pétanque" is one of them.
I'm so glad they use the term "feet fixed", as opposed to "feet together". Too many people think that your feet have to be glued together when you throw.

In 2006 I wrote a post on the forum about the topic:

"tanca" is an old Provençal term meaning "blocked" or "fixed". In todays' Catalan, closely related to Provençal, the verb "tancar" is still used in that sense and more generally as a term for "to close". Because when you "block" an entrance or "fix" a window, you prevent further use, and actually "close" it.
It evolved into French as "tanquer" ("-er" being the common ending for a verb), also as a reflexive verb "se tanquer" meaning "to get stuck", hence "to be stuck".
The idea of standing still (or "being stuck") when throwing a boule was quite revolutionary in 1907. For centuries folks had been running, jumping, you name it, when throwing boules. Imagine telling a javelin thrower today that there's no more run-up.

A lot of people still think that "tanca" means "together". No one cares how close together your feet are, as long as they're immobile, and - when it comes to formal competitions - fit in the regulation 50cm (20") diameter circle.

By the way, in the South of France, "tanqué" (the past participle of "tanquer") is also used to describe someone who is well built, as a compliment: "C'est une femme bien tanquée !".

May 22, 2009

Still life

The Dutch have always been masters at still lifes: think Vermeer, Hals, Steen, ... With more modern means, photographers Hans Heus & Dagmar Rijnders made this short clip observing a typical village game in the Pyrénées (SW France).
Very captivating!
Click on the image (requires Quicktime plugin).

May 21, 2009

Heart of Texas now online

To celebrate their first anniversary, H.O.T. in Austin - now 55 members strong - started up their website.

HOT is an amazing mix of magicians, restaurateurs, and other artists. Links to their individual websites are on the members page. Check them out!

Heart of Texas Petanque Club

May 20, 2009

Complete the circle!

One of the students at the Eugene Pétanque IClub in Oregon made this video to celebrate the completion of the first high school terrain in the region, built just for pétanque. With privately raised funds.
Eugene Pétanque IClub started as a high school league 10 years ago and has expanded to include adults this year.
Kudos to Mike Stasack, his team, the players and... their creative spirit!

May 19, 2009

Village tournament in France

This video shows how a club in a tiny village with around 500 inhabitants manages to organize a one day tournament with 84 teams. Actually they could have handled a lot more, but the weather forecast called for thunderstorms that day.

The parking lot next to the church, a chalk line marker and wooden beams. That's it. Obviously, this is not the first time, and they have it down to a tee.

Also noteworthy: (at 1:06) the new French FFPJP membership cards that get scanned in a reader. An amazing mix of tradition and technology. And burgers (aka "steak américain") for lunch!
Lempaut is in the Tarn department, SW of Castres. Thanks to Joël of La Boule Lempautoise.

May 13, 2009

Petanque America Open 2009

Very pleased to announce we are 'go' for Amelia Island.

I promise it will be a memorable pétanque event for players from all over the country (and beyond), from beginners to champions, and a weekend of unforgettable fun.
Some aspects are yet to be finalized, but here's what I can tell you at this stage:

Date: Sat & Sun 14 & 15 November 2009
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Format: doubles
Prize money: min. $ 5,000 total
Participation: $65 per player

Formal tournament start Saturday 9:00am / Prize awards Sunday 4pm.

It's still early for flights and lodging but please do keep that weekend free. And please spread the word! Overseas participants should start checking flight fares already.

Also, as of June 1st, Petanque America will be located in Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island. By mid July, we will have the tournament website and registration up and running.

Amelia Island Tourism
Visitors Guide
Jacksonville Airport - JAX
Holiday Rentals (Nov prices will be substantially lower)


Comments welcome: Tag on here

And here's this years' theme song to put you in the mood:

May 12, 2009

Marseillaise in Montreal

Building on the success of 2008 in the City of Quebec, the Quebec Petanque Federation and Ricard are organizing a second edition in Longueuil (Montreal).

July 16-17-18-19
Register by July 10
Website (only in French, so far)

The atmosphere last year was fantastic. Here's the 2008 slideshow.

May 10, 2009

Juniors at work

See these 2 juniors shooting away in Lisieux, south of Le Havre . Not one boule missed! It looks like they're using champion Pascal Mileï's typical swing: starting high up.

The taller one actually made & edited the video. Well done.
Except for the spelling: the plural of "tir" (a shot) is "tirs", not "tires".

May 9, 2009

Trophée Canal+ 1998

Six minutes of highlights from 11 years ago, with lots of slow motion repeats.
Same skills as today, but some champions had less gray hair and some a smaller belly.
If I am not mistaken, Canal+ was the first channel in France to broadcast pétanque games nationwide.

May 8, 2009


Here's another nice one, in Jean-Baptiste's backyard in Lawrenceville, NJ.

About 5 x 12 m (15 x 36 ft), shade & benches for the public, shelf space for spare boules, and a brass bath tub in easy reach for all. Can you imagine the amount of ice that fits in there?!
And spotlights for playing through the night.

A reminder:
please send us pics of your home petanque terrain. They are great inspiration for others. At least once a week we get a call from people asking for advice and tips. Look at other boulodr'homes

May 7, 2009

Moving ahead in Fresno, CA

Congratulations to Tim, Terry and all the other players of Fresno Petanque!

Here's a timeline of FPC, from when Tim arrived in Fresno.
(start at the bottom)
Patience, persistence, personality and petanque. An alliteration that always applies.

Professions galore

Three city councilpersons, artists, writers, wood-workers, musicians, retail shop owners, retired school teachers, community activists, bloggers, a publicist, birding bureaucrats, a locksmith, a contractor and a landscaper.
Those are some of the players you'll encounter in Fort Bragg, CA:

More on

San Pedro Open - May 17

Los Angeles Petanque Club is getting ready again for one of the largest open tournaments of the year.

Sunday May 17.
Open to anyone.
Register on Sunday morning.

Details on LAPC's website (PDF)
No idea what it's all about? Look at the 2008 slideshow

May 6, 2009

Midwest Tournament - June 20

Fourth edition of the annual tournament in Chicago.
Beautiful location, and open to all.
Sat June 20, 2009

Registration info

If you live in the Chicago area, don't miss out!

May 5, 2009

Age is irrelevant # 2

Just back from playing with my nonagenarian friends in Georgia, I discover the petanque world is all abuzz over Ms Maria Vidal, the 105 year old lady from Pibrac - just west of Toulouse.

Although she's been playing with family and friends all her life, it wasn't till last month that she applied for a formal players license at the local petanque club and was immediately declared the most senior player in France. The club will file an application to get her in the World Records book as well.
In an interview she confided the secret of her longevity: "Always keeping busy, always inquisitive about what goes on around me" continuing, with a smile "always a glass of wine with meals, and I only eat the crust of bread."

See her at play on YouTube
(where she admits Ricard is on the menu as well ;-)

Funny how in all the articles they push the clock forward to 106. Maria will actually turn 106 in December.

May 4, 2009

A blast in Austin

Arsene was so excited about the success that he texted me a quick report last night, just hours after the event ended. I added some links and the pictures that followed today:

I am proud to say that the first tournament organized by Heart of Texas was won by the club itself and the beautiful cup that Thierry Amisse made will remain as a trophy in Austin, TX until the next tournament. The GOLD: winner representatives of the club were Amine Najah and Arsene Dupin. There's so much to say about today and how organically the tournament came together, so the first thing is to say Thank You to all of you who came and participated and everyone's support whether you were there or not. Also, one of the major contributors to a magnificent success today was -the Weather It didn't rain on us during the entire tournament in the midst of every weatherman predicting rain today. I think because of the goodness of those smiling faces coming together to one of the greatest games on this planet, the heavens opened up the sun for us People came as far as San Antonio 4 teams of great players one of them took SILVER : Michel Costa and Patrick Lanchais, both great French executive chefs at Frederick's restaurant and two other members also from H.O.T., Jacques and Spiros Petratos (Restaurant l'Aquarelle) took BRONZE. We had 2 great referees Rick Armstrong and Jerome Potts. What a great day!

18 teams, wonderful setting, nice weather, and some gastronomy to top it off. What else do you need?

Escargots prepared
on the spot!

May 3, 2009

Age is irrelevant!

In March I blogged about Park Springs, a 62+ retirement community in Stone Mountain, GA.
So did the Atlanta Journal Constitution* , shedding more light on why Andy Isakson got petanque going there.

Being so close, I had to pay them a visit and - I can assure you - it was an unforgettable experience.
The terrain has an irregular shape that fits well in the surroundings, large enough for 3 games, with several benches and a perfect surface.

Nine of the regular (Tue & Sat) players joined in for a chat about the history and traditions of petanque, and then we played two games.

What a surprise!! The overall level was excellent, but the two deans, Stephanie and Bernie, respectively 92 and 95 years young, were beyond all expectations and totally creamed my teammate and me with their pointing. If I were looking for an excuse I could blame it on the Riviera Party in Buckhead the night before, but there's no need. They were just better at concentrating and "dosing" the throw. Careful, gentle, measured. Unlike some of the superbly witty comments that were flying around on the court and cracked me up!

Timing was perfect, because just as we stopped around 4pm for a cold drink (on the adjoining, covered terrace!) a major thunderstorm broke out. Fine with us. We chatted for another hour, and then headed for the beautiful indoor pub, in time to watch... Mine That Bird win the Kentucky Derby!

To Ena, Katherine, Myrtle, Stephanie, Bernie, Bob, Floyd, John & Tom, a sincere word of thanks for the wonderful welcome.

And cheers to Andy for integrating petanque in this and future communities.

* that's one more newspaper for our list !

Indoor petanque in Atlanta

On Friday the French American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta held their Annual gala called Passport To France. Hundreds of guests came for top class food, wine and an auction with wonderful prizes.

Since this year the highlight was on the French Riviera, they turned part of the ballroom into a casino. And with the assistance of our friends at Ricard and lively volunteers of Atlanta Accueil, we turned one corner into a boulodrome + pastis bar during the aperitif. Oriental carpet, marble and steel balls don't mix, so we used indoor boules ('petanque molle').

It was an unusual sight, thus even more fun!

I met several people who are keen to get a regular group together in Atlanta. Anyone else interested, email me and we'll put you on the map.