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Boule or Petanque, Is there a difference?

Eric has a question, WHY DO SOME PEOPLE CALL IT PETANQUE AND SOME CALL IT BOULE. IT IS VERY CONFUSING!

Good question Eric. Boule or Petanque? Boule is a generic term covering many ball and jack games i.e. Boccia, Pétanque, Boule Lyonnasie, Jeu Provencal. Boule Lyonnaise is a game similar to Lawn Bowls and many visitors to France may have witnessed this amazing sport. The game is played over long distances and a run up is required to launch a metal boule up to 17 metres. Just take a moment here to imagine an English lawn bowl thrown through the air to remove an opponent’s bowl, hitting the bowl without hitting the ground first. Some shot! The athleticism required to play the sport is best left to the dedicated sportsman. However, the sport of Lyonnaise is the direct relation to Pétanque. A master of the sport in Lyon suffered from arthritis in his later years and found the running and throwing difficult to maintain with accuracy. In 1910 he devised a game where you stood with your feet together in a circle. With no run up allowed the game was played between six and ten metres from the circle. The game caught on very quickly and Pétanque was born. One of the few sports played at World championship level created by a disadvantaged person. With this beginning the sport is indeed suitable for all. So calling petanque "boule" is ok but you may want to check if playing abroad!

Photo Progrès /Patrick BONJOUR

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