Olive Us: Pétanque

We’re delighted to share another new Olive Us episode today! It’s called Pétanque (pronounced pay-tonk), and it shows the popular French game of the same name. Have you heard of Italian Bocce? It’s similar, but the balls are smaller and made of metal. The materials make for a really handsome game.

French game of pétanque.

In France, every little country village has a pétanque field where the older men gather for a game at the end of the day — and you can find pétanque fields in the parks of Paris as well. This episode was filmed in the teeny, tiny village of Fleuré, very near La Cressonnière, the home we rented. We would pass this field several times every day. In fact, this video has me feeling nostalgic!

French game of pétanque.French game of pétanque.

Have you ever played petanque? And if you live outside the U.S., is there a sport or game that’s particular to your country? I’d love to hear.

P.S. — Want more Olive Us episodes? You can find them all on the Olive Us website, or see my write-ups on each episode here.


15 thoughts on “Olive Us: Pétanque”

  1. I’m from England where cricket is very popular. In ’85 we visited the U.S. and played cricket on the beach with a plastic set of wickets and bat. All the Americans were watching and pointing – it just made my uncles enjoy it even more!

  2. I am so glad that you guys decided to do a video on this. I am a Canadian living in France and see people playing this game everywhere. When the “courts” are full they play in the gravel parking lot just beside it. I love seeing the social aspect of the game and my 3 year old daughter loves to watch. Of course I am also grateful that I can now see the OliveUs videos here in France. Thank you for making that happen!

    PS Gabby – most of my Christmas gifts that I am bringing home to Canada are based on your recommendations! Thanks for all of your posts…..especially about Nuxe oil. I love that stuff!

  3. I live in Detroit, MI and right outside of my apartment building there is a little gravel petanque court and people play every day (except in the winter) at lunch time.

  4. Oh, this brings back such great memories of the time my husband and I have spent in Paris! It’s such fun–starting a game in any park pretty much guarantees that you’ll meet some new people who wander over to join in. We just bought a home and are already plotting to put a court in the backyard. Superb!

  5. On Bastille Day, my neighborhood in Brooklyn closes off the main street, fills it with sand, and holds a petanque tournament. So much fun!

  6. This was really delightful! I especially loved the dapper, experienced precision with which that man carved out the standing space with his heel; it spoke to years of experience playing a game he loves. Also, where did you get that pullover Ralph was wearing? I want one for myself!

  7. Thank you so much for reposting the episodes! Living in France, I couldn’t wait to see them!!!
    They are all lovely as usual!!!

  8. So fun! I love the clothes!

    I think petanque is so much fun! I am trying in vain to persuade my husband to put a petanque area in our backyard.

  9. Yes! As an American who loves pétanque, I enjoy seeing others Americans learning to play and spreading the word about how fun it is. I served part of my LDS mission on the French island of La Réunion and have such great memories of p-days spend learning to play pétanque. After I came home, I talked about it so much that my boyfriend (now husband) secretly looked the game up online and ordered an authentic French pétanque set to surprise me with on Valentine’s day! That set has been well-used and is a family favorite–I don’t think my kids even realize that not all American families keep a pétanque set in the trunk of their car so they can play it whenever the opportunity presents itself!

  10. The recent influx of families from the French-speaking African country of Togo brought this game to our small Midwest town. It is one of their favorites and there are several very beautiful sets of pétanque balls that I’ve seen in use. One of our friends has promised to teach us how to play soon!

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