What is Pétanque?
Unlike the other versions of boules, Pétanque can be played almost anywhere but is generally played on roughish ground normally consisting of hard dirt or gravel. From a standing, bending or crouching position within a prescribed circle, the players try to place their boules nearest to a jack, or cochonnet (piglet), positioned between 6 and 10 metres away.
A match consists of a series of 'ends' in which the team that does not own the boule nearest the jack continues to play until they get one closer (in English lawn or crown bowls the teams play alternately). Points are scored for each boule that is closer to the jack than the nearest boule of the opposition after all boules have been played. The next end is started by the last team to score.
Depending on the terrain the boule can be rolled the whole way, thrown most of the way to roll into position, or lobbed into position with very little roll. This skill is called pointing.
Alternatively an opposition boule may need to be moved away from the jack by means of a forceful direct hit and this skill is called shooting.
The boules themselves come in a range of weights and sizes with 'pointers' often preferring to use smaller, heavier boules that are harder to hit and dislodge while 'shooters' prefer lighter, larger boules that are easier to throw longer distances and give more chance of hitting the target boule.
Matches are played in three formats:
- triples (3 against 3 with 2 boules each)
- doubles (2 against 2 with 3 boules each)
- singles (1 against 1 with 3 boules each)
and the winning team is the first to 11 or 13 points.
The Official Rules
Find out more about Pétanque in the UK:
The British Pétanque Federation
petanque.org - worldwide community