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About Pétanque


Although ball games have been played since the Egyptians, the French ‘boule’ game of Pétanque was born in the south of France in 1907 and is now played everywhere in the world. It is a very social game and clubs in France and England are often based at a cafe or pub although this is not the case in Bourne. There are more and more clubs in England which have been started by enthusiasts having holidayed and played the game in France. There are national and international federations with a world tournament every two years but it hasn’t reached the Olympic Games yet although the federation has applied twice. Eventually it will get there as there is more and more interest internationally. Start practising now and who knows!


It is played with metal boules and a small wooden ball called the ‘cochonnet’. You can play in single, doubles or triples. It is played with 2 or 3 boules each. Although it can become a highly skilled and strategic game it can also be played by anybody as its rules are very simple.

Unlike the English game of Bowls, Pétanque is generally played on terrains consisting of gravel or compacted dirt. Rather than rolling balls along the floor as in Bowls, in Pétanque you throw the “boules” through the air.

The cochonnet is thrown by the team who won the toss at a distance between 6 and 10 metres. This team throws the first boule as close to the cochonnet as possible. The other team then must try and get closer. The team furthest must carry on until they get closer to the cochonnet. When the players have run out of boules ‘the end’ is finished and the closest team get points for each of their boule closest to the cochonnet. The team who won the end get to throw the coche in the next end (an important tactical advantage). If a team plays with 6 boules it is possible to score 6 points in one go. The first team to get to 13 points has won.

There are 2 main ways of playing which are ‘pointer’ (throwing the boule close to the cochonnet) and ’tirer’ (knocking out an opponent boule which is too close to the cochonnet or a boule which stops you from scoring more points)


Why should you play Pétanque?

  • The game is easy to pick up no matter how good or bad your sporting ability
  • You don’t have to have good fitness to play, we have wheelchair access to clubhouse and terrain
  • Suitable for players of any age, we have members in their 20’s up to members in their 80’s.Some old bums we have all sorts of bums as members.
  • Fun, social sport
  • Great outdoor activity
  • With a bit of coaching you can become a decent player in a just a matter of weeks
  • Cheap sporting activity – membership is only £20 per year (38p per week) with no additional costs apart from tea/coffee at break time. If you decide to purchase your own set of competition boules later on, they will last for years
Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. michael harriss

     /  September 15, 2014

    Hi, Give my regards to Tony Gellard (new member) and give him a helping hand. Regards Mike Harriss


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