Pétanque - Serious Play for Young and Old

If you happen to see a group of serious, old men staring at the ground do not be alarmed: they are just played pétanque.

The name means "feet anchored" and refers to the players who attempt to throw the balls, or boules, as close as possible to a smaller ball known as a cochonnet (piglet), bouchon (cork) or simply le petit (the small one). Whichever boule is closest earns one point in the race to reach thirteen.

Much like lawn bowling in America and bocce in Italy, though the balls are thrown not rolled, the game is played wherever a square patch of packed dirt can be found.

Those who would call it "French Frisbee" would likely find a cochonnet whizzing towards their head; the French are serious about pétanque. There are 375,000 licensed players and various provincial styles of play, not to mention calculated underhand, palm-down tosses to maximum backspin and accuracy.

Just make sure you aren't beaten 13-0 or you'll be buying drinks for the entire winning team. Mettre fanny!