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Pétanque at Mueller


Boules and Jack courtesy of Wally Gobetz

What is pétanque?

Pétanque is a game which originated in the South of France, and is a form of boules. If that doesn’t mean anything to you it’s a game in which players throw hollow metal balls to land as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball. Originally the game was invented by a French man whose rheumatism prevented him from running to toss a ball, and the idea is to throw the balls while stationary.

What are the rules of pétanque?

Players or teams take it in turn to throw boules (the large metal balls) at the jack (the smaller wooden ball) until the jack is knocked out of play or all the boules are thrown. At that point, points are awarded based on the boules which are nearest to the jack. I like this pictorial representation of the game rules from Petanque America.

Is pétanque just like bocce?

Bocce is more of a game of bowling where the boules are thrown palm up, whereas pétanque boules are thrown palm down so as to give backspin.

Is pétanque just a fancy version of horsehoes?

In some ways, both are throwing rather than bowling games. While horseshoes might be more familiar to Americans, the French based game of pétanquehas a few more facets. For example, a good player might specialize in knocking opponents boules out of the way to prevent them from scoring points. Or they might just toss the boule so that it lands by the jack and stops dead, or knocks the jack closer to his other boules.

Where can I play pétanque at Mueller?

The Browning Hangar has hosted tournaments in the past – but Paggi Square is perhaps designed with the game in mind. In fact the Heart of Texas Pétanque Club even contributed to its design a few years back.

Paggi Square is located off Robert Browning Street between Ruiz and Page Streets.

How do I pronounce it?

It’s pronounced pay-tonk in French, but given that this is Mueller (pronounced Miller) and it’s in a park that could be pronounced Padgey or Paggey then you might as well develop your own way of saying it and popularize that. Maybe pi-tin-key or something like that.

Where can I buy a set of boules?

There are plenty of plastic sets on Amazon, but this metal set looks much better in my opinion: Gold and Silver Petanque Ball Set and includes a bottle opener that is also a tape measure, or a tape measure that is also a bottle opener depending on how you look at things.


To learn more about the Mueller neighborhood, get in touch +1.512.215.4785.

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