The “Pétanque”

Hi everyone ! Happy new year !  Today, I’m going to talk about a sport very known in Marseille: The “Pétanque” !

The “Pétanque” (of the Provençal pè: feet, and tanqué: standing) is a game of bowls. It is the tenth sport in France by the number of graduates: 313 985 players with a license in 2013. At the end of 2007, we count 558 898 players distributed in 78 countries, from Morocco to Vietnam. In this counter, it’s advisable to add the occasional players, on holidays in particular who is several millions. It’s essentially a male sport (only 14% of the players are women in France). Nevertheless, it’s one of the rare sports where competitions can be mixed.

To play “Petanque”:


  • Balls in steel, diameter between 70,5 and 80 mm and weight between 650 and 800 grams. Versions adapted to the young children propose plastic or wooden balls.
  • A wooden ball, 30 mm in diameter.


Rules of the game

The objective is to score points by placing its balls closer of the wooden ball that his opponent.


In this sport, three combinations are possible. The “triplette” (three against three), the “doublette” (two against two) and the one against one. In the “triplette”, every player has two balls. In other configurations, every player has three balls.


In senior category the game has to take place between 6 and 10 meters, during the throw of the wooden ball. Afterward, in the course of game, the wooden ball never has to be unless 3 meters or in more than 20 meters.


The “Pétanque” is practiced on all the grounds.

The circle of throw

It is a circle, drawn on the ground, in which the player has to throw his ball. Its diameter is between 35 and 50 cms.


A team throws its balls until it places one of its balls closer of the wooden ball than the opposite team. A game takes place in 13 points.


For the followers of speaking of Marseille:

  • Expression with “collègue”:

“Oh collègue !” means “friend”

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10 Responses to The “Pétanque”

  1. fguenver says:

    For my part I do not think bocce is a sport. There really is no physical effort except at very high bit being. But it’s nice to play during the summer holidays.
    Often you play bocce?

  2. arzuaslan says:

    Have you ever play Pétanque? If it is yes did you like it?

  3. maelysrobert says:

    Does it exist competitions ?

  4. As I’m a Southern too, I think that the Pétanque is a sport, a lot of competitions are held. For example, in Nice we are the “Riviera Petanque Show”. I love playing Pétanque along the beach it’s very pleasant. Do you are rather a “tireur” or a “pointeur”?

  5. Hi emilie ! I agree with you 😉 I’m better “pointeur” than “tireur” but I like both !

  6. I’m a “pointeur” too ! I like “Pétanque”, at the cocktail hour, during the summer !

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