April 27, 2010

Palm Desert Spring Tournament

Ken of La Petanque Marinière made a nice slideshow of last weekend's tournament in Palm Desert CA.

Brand new courts, great setting!
And cute uniforms :-)

Slideshow (48 pics)

April 22, 2010

Boule Bleue designs

If you want boules that totally stick out by their design, La Boule Bleue beats the pack. This is their # 4 reference.
And below you see two more, of a total of 31 groove designs they can make.

La Boule Bleue designs

Granted - they're not cheap, but oh so pretty!

April 21, 2010

Yannick Noah

This interview with the French tennis star and singer starts off with a VERY short segment where he plays pétanque. The rest is banter about French Tennis Federation president Jean Gachassin and joking around with ex OM soccer player Basile Boli.
At least now we know that Noah plays pétanque on Sundays.


Next week Sunday, May 2nd.

Select Triples, at the NYPC in Brooklyn.

<----- click on the poster.

April 20, 2010

Petanque in Holland (or is it?)

The Dutch petanque federation has a new website. With close to 19,000 registered members Holland is the fourth most active petanque country. Well organized, and constantly growing.
NJBB stands for 'Netherlands Jeu de Boules Bond', as the term "jeu de boules" is still more common in Holland than "petanque". Then again, the Dutch are used to adopting foreign words into their own daily lingo: such as "überhaupt", "sowieso", "meeting", "single", "tireren" or "portefeuille"...

But what struck me right away is the photo on their front page:

That's the sign of Lamorinda Petanque in Lafayette, California, and I took that picture when I visited them two years ago!

I honestly can't blame them for borrowing it. Lafayette does indeed have one of the most appealing public play areas in the US the world. And I bet Mary will be proud when she sees it!

Here's my report from May 2008.

Update June 2:
The photo has been changed to a more typical Dutch scene.

April 19, 2010

No boules today!

Over the past years, we've worked out a pretty neat system whereby almost every week we fly in boules from various manufacturers - leaving Europe on Friday, to arrive here on Monday.
No such luck this weekend as our shipment is still sitting at the UPS hub in Cologne, Germany - for obvious reasons...

Update 4/21/10
The shipment just arrived in Louisville KY!

April 18, 2010

Home court in Ilinois

Thom in Hanover Park IL (NW of Chicago) built a beauty!
It has all the "accoutrements" (a long French word for 'stuff') to make it a winner: attractive landscaping, lighting for evening games, a shed with a stocked fridge, and a patio with chairs, table and BBQ.

Thom is also an accomplished craftsman who supplies us with one-of-a-kind accessories like the wooden boule lifters.
Needless to say, he's got the right petanque spirit!

April 17, 2010

Amelia Island Petanque

Today our little group broke previous records with pickup games on the riverfront.
43 islanders came out to play, or to try it for the first time, or just watch and make new friends. The age range was from 5 to ... 89.
Out of the 43, there are only 6 or 7 who were familiar with petanque five months ago. And yet they (yours truly included) are not necessarily the best players!

Below is a very short clip that depicts the joyful atmosphere better than words:


It's been a while since I posted home court pics, so let's start catching up.

Ken in San Rafael CA had been dreaming of his own court for years, but there was a major problem. His backyard is hardly accessible from the street, and abuts public land in the back. So how do you clean up and get the crushed stone where you want it??

Until the local public works department had to rearrange utility lines, dig up and build a new retaining wall on the property next door! The guys were very understanding and helped him out.
Below you see the different stages, with a beautiful end result.

April 14, 2010

Dallas petanque in the news

This was just before winter (and during our blog hiatus), but certainly still worth a read.

The Dallas Morning News did quite a feature on Bill & his friends in Dallas TX, at the occasion of their Fall Tournament. Bill has been a mainstay of pétanque in the Dallas area for many years. And he never gave up, even when only 2 or 3 players showed up for games.

Dallas News - Nov 4, 2009
Slide show with players' comments

April 13, 2010

La Boule NY - Newsletter

LBNY just published their Spring Newsletter. After a seemingly endless winter, high time for some sunny news!

<--- click on the logo

April 12, 2010

Austin petanque in the press

Photo credit: Larry Kolvoord/American Statesman

Heart of Texas Petanque Club was featured extensively by the Statesman.
Perfect timing: the first day of spring, and a week before their big tournament.

Statesman - March 20, 2010

Juan from Miami also filed a report about the HOT Open.

April 11, 2010

Petanque in Laos

Sandra from NY recently traveled around in Laos, and took this picture, a few hours north of Vientiane, the capital.

It underscores once more that one can play petanque anywhere.
Almost daily we get calls from folks wanting to know what size 'rectangle' you need. My answer is always:
"Don't worry about a rectangle. As long as you have an area of at least 12 x 36 ft, you're fine. Bigger? Even better. Round or oval? No problem."

Looking for unique boules?

We got hold of a few of the famous VMS Plot boules, designed by Henri Salvador many years ago.

Jeff in Detroit wrote a story about them in 2007.

By the way, VMS was an acronym for:
Vartan Berbérian, a French- Armenian engineer.
Bernard Marle, founder and owner of Groupe Marle, the world's second largest hip implant manufacturer, in Nogent (Haute-Marne).
Henri Salvador, French-Guyanese crooner extraordinaire, who sang and played petanque until his death at age 91 in 2008.

Salvador had the passion, Berbérian the technique, and Marle the means to come up with these one-of-a-kind boules.

The more I write about them, the more I want to hang on to them!

Only 3 sets left

In the summer of 2009, Bernard Marle sold 80 % of his company to the famous Washington, DC based Carlyle Group. Carlyle had no interest in the small, side-line boules operation ("What on earth are boules?") and - from what I heard - Obut tried to buy it out, but a management buyout prevailed. Thus MS remains the only truly independent boules manufacturer in France, besides Obut, and the new kid on the block, KTK.

Australia meets Canada in Fernandina Beach

Yesterday we had two surprise teams for our Saturday morning games.
The Pelletiers from Quebec, Canada (driving home from Arcadia FL) and Ben & Robert Dansby from Canberra, Australia.
Ben, who grew up in Lakeland FL but left 30 years ago, is the president of the "Boule Dogs" petanque club down under. He's touring around the US to show his son what America looks like. And Hermel & Renelle are amongst the thousands of Canadians who spend the winter in Florida. They discovered that Amelia Island is so close to I-95 that they made a stop and... decided to spend the weekend here.
Different continents, different backgrounds, but we (incl. the 26 local Amelia Island players) all had a ball together!

April 9, 2010

Paris up close

If you want to visit Paris without leaving your seat, this is it:

Paris 26 Gigapixels

Move around, zoom in & out, and discover 20 of the most beautiful monuments.
The 2346 photos were shot from the St Sulpice tower and then stitched together.

I had no idea there was a place with so many chimneys per sqm.

With a bit of cruising I found some Parisians doing what they do best: sitting on a terrace for lunch.

Thanks to Ed in Encinitas.

April 8, 2010

Anthony Bourdain being "had for breakfast" ...

The Travel Channel's wandering chef gets creamed by the natives:

Watch in HD (720) and full screen! So crisp you can almost smell the weeds he talks about.

Note to Anthony: come and train with us stateside, so next time you'll be kicking their "derrières"!

Thanks to Joe in Detroit.

When I watched this clip, the place looked extremely familiar. Then again, petanque next to a greenhouse behind a building is a common sight all over Provence. But - stubborn - I dug into my old photos from 2001 (when cameras were 1 megapixel) and... bingo!
It was filmed at Café-Relais de la Galine, about a mile east of St Rémy de Provence. La Galine is a local institution, where retired men (and the unemployed) play every day of the week. The 4 or 5 greenhouses allow for winter play. Most games involve (small amounts of) French Francs Euros to keep the tension - and the bar - going. Hence the observation of the lady is right on the money. Serious business...

Update # 2
I could have saved myself a lot of digging by just Googling "Anthony Bourdain" & Provence!!
Thus I found the complete episode of his visit to St Rémy, where they eat at La Galine (indeed) ànd more footage about pétanque (and Euros..)
The pétanque scene starts at 5:50.

April 6, 2010

Chanel petanque set

8 boules & one target ball in a wicker basket.
For only $ 2,800!

Cannon boules

A Dutch commercial for William Lawson Scotch.
Very funny!

Thanks to Aoyama Petanque.

Int'l NYPC Open - June 19 & 20

This will be BIG!!

New York Petanque Club is inviting everyone for a summer tournament under the century-old oak trees of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Teams of 3 players. Limited to 64 teams.
Registration: $65 per player.

Total prize purse: $7,000 - with $3,000 to first place.

No wonder they already have teams from Belgium, Canada, France and Spain signed up.

Click on the flyer for tournament details, registration form, and lodging options ----->

Palm Desert Spring Tournament - April 24 & 25

Triples tournament.
Entry fee: $60 per team

<---- click on the banner for all info and registration.

April 5, 2010

Fernandina Beach tournament

Last weekend we had a wonderful local tournament right here on the riverfront.

14 triplet teams with a wide variety of names, from Screwboules to Meatboules, not to forget the Big Kahunas and the local police team, Beach Boules. Ages ranging from 12 to 72.

Though mainly meant for islanders, we were honored with the presence of "Boules de Leon" from St Augustine, and "Carolina Petanque" all the way from Lexington, NC.

"Fun" was the slogan for the day and yes, fun was had by all, notwithstanding the constant breeze. We started at 9 am. Five random games for each team, with rankings on games won, and point spread. Simple, straightforward and by 4 pm we were at O'Kanes - the local Irish Pub - for Saturday evening quarterbacking.

We are truly blessed by the location, and the fact that players contribute their tools of the trade.

"Pete da Meat" brought his 16' catering trailer with cool drinks and barbecue.
Jeff provided his unique solar powered sound system so Gary, the tournament director, had no problems getting his message across, and good music was plentiful.

Many more pictures on the Carolina Petanque blog (the winners).

And below a video report by our friends from SearchAmelia, who placed a well deserved second.