Pétanque: the great game of boules - pointers to all the information you could want about Provence's favourite sport...

Pétanque was originally altered from an older game, called Jeu Provençal or Jeu de Boules Béraud, by Jules LeNoir in La Ciotat. The game involved players taking one step from a drawn circle on the ground and, perched on one leg, throw or roll a ball towards a smaller wooden ball, a cochonnet or bouchon. Jules LeNoir played extensively until an accident left him crippled from the waist down (though some versions attribute his disability to severe rheumatism). Confined to a wheelchair, he invented the new rules, with the pointer or shooter standing with both feet (or wheels) firmly on the ground. The term Pétanque is derived from pieds (feet) and tanqués (firmly rooted, secured). The boulodrome in La Ciotat is named after Jules LeNoir.

Pétanque, or boules, has become the “national sport” of Provence.

The rules are available in English

Selected Websites


If you want to build a terrain de boules

  • There's some information in English here
  • A thorough description in French, with visuals and a full materials listing can be found here