How To Play Pétanque – The French Game of Boules


Pétanque is played by two teams of one, two or three players each. In single and doubles, each player uses 3 boules, in triples each player uses 2 boules.

The Basics

Players toss boules [steel balls] toward a small target call a cochonnet [also know as a jack or bouchon].

Points are scored by placing boules closer to the cochonnet than the other team.

The first team to score 13 points wins the match.

The Match

A coin toss determines which team goes first.

A player on the first team begins by drawing a circle 50 cm in diameter and tossing the cochonnet a distance of 6 to 10 meters from the edge of the circle.

Standing inside the circle, a player from the first team throws a boule as close to the cochonnet as possible. Players’ feet must remain touching the ground and inside the circle while boules are thrown. Now the second team throws a boule.

Each team plays until it has the boule closest to the cochonnet or runs out of boules. After all boules have been played, the team with the boule closest to the cochonnet wins the end [round], and gets one point for each of its boules that is closer than the other team’s closest boule.

The team that wins the end begins the next end. The game ends when one team reaches 13 points.