Two balls and a jack were unearthed in the sarcophagus of an Egyptian Prince of the 52nd Century B.C. Thus there is archaeological evidence that a form of pétanque was played over seventy centuries ago. Subsequently there have been historical references in both France and England at the time of Edward the Third and Elizabeth the First. What else could Drake have played on the Hoe at Plymouth? It is fact that a game played with cannon balls the size of cricket balls, was very popular with both soldiers and sailors at that time.
In 1907 a new version was developed in the small town of La Ciotat, near Marseilles. Interestingly it was adapted from a similar game of the time to enable a handicapped player to participate. It is this version that has become the standard throughout the world played to a set of internationally recognised rules.

Pétanque is played throughout the British Isles. It is a sport for all ages and both sexes, it is classless and can be played wherever a reasonable surface can be found or created.

The concept of the game of pétanque is simple and similar to bowls, i.e. resting your boule closer to the jack than your opponent. However, instead of rolling wooden bowls over an immaculately maintained lawn, pétanque is played on an easily maintained area of fairly level 'stony' ground, with metal boule rolled or tossed to the jack.


Images courtesy of Jac Verheul





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