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Petanque is a form of boules where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to the pig (a small wooden ball). It's normally played on hard sand, but can also be played on grass or any other surface. Similar games are bocce and bowls.


The game can be played individually or in teams. In competitions, there are three different configurations:

The balls are made of metal and weighs between 650 g and 800 g and have a circumference between 7.05 cm and 8 cm. The pig is made of wood and has a circumference between 25 mm and 35 mm.

The playing area should be big enough, more than 12x3 meters.

The starting team begins by making a ring on the playing field (35 to 50 cm in diameter) which both feet must be inside when throwing.

Then the pig is thrown. For seniors it should be between 6 and 10 meters from the ring, and 1 meter from any obstacle or boundary.

Then, the player that threw the pig throws the first ball. After that the team that doesn't have the ball closest to the pig throws. When they run out of balls, the other teams throws their remaining balls.

The team with the ball closest to the pig gets one point for each ball closer than any of the opponents balls.

The team that won the previous turn start the next turn and a new ring is drawn where the pig was in the previous round.

One set is usually 13 points.


The international Petanque federation Fédération Internationale de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal was founded in 1958 in Marseille and has about 600000 licensed players in 52 countries (2002).

The first world championships was held in 1959.