Pétanque is one of those quintessentially French things to me... like croissants or formules or apéro or unnecessary paperwork. I've never really had it explained to me... but near the end of my stay in France I saw a few games here and there, once the weather started to get nice.
I came across this game on my last day in Paris, in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The men (always men) each had their own metal engraved boules, which they take turns throwing. The goal is to get your metal ball closest to the little yellow jack.
|Another one going one over there...|
I must have sat there for a good 20 minutes, watching them walk back and forth, round after round. Sometimes snapping a picture or two. There was something really satisfying about sitting close to the game; you could feel the ground rumble a little bit when the ball hit the ground with a loud thump. And I loved the clicking sound when the ball hit another one, nudging another player's boule out of his spot.
The stance is very important. Two feet solid on the ground. Inside the little circle. Concentrate. Throw underhanded, with your hand over the ball.
After the round is over, they collect their boules with these neat little magnets on the end of strings.
This guy was my favorite. You could tell he knew everyone sitting around watching. And I loved the guy with the book. After a particularly good throw, he would loudly exclaim ohhh, law law law lawwww. (I think that is my favorite French phrase. People actually use it for everything. And it's not "ooou la la!" like a flirty American girl trying to be French, it's a serious and often exasperated "oh law lawww." Love it.)
Ok actually you know what, it was hard to pick favorites at this match. I loved the lady doing her knitting, too. Watching her men and their little jeu. Oh, la la.
Et voilà, a little piece of my last day in France. More to come.