Monday, February 15, 2010

Keep Your Eye on the Ball ( Balls)


I have a confession to make. I made this photograph last summer and to my knowledge, I've never really looked at it before last night. I was sifting through my photos ( as I do daily) and ran across it. Given a closer look , I am fascinated that they all have their eyes fixed on the balls. Pétanque, thanks to some of the players I got to know and who kindly shared the rules of the game with me, is a rather intense game, but one enjoyed on a daily basis by many men in Paris. Photographing the pétanque players at Luxembourg Gardens and at the Palais Royal was great fun. If you are lucky enough to visit when the weather is fine, try and find a game or two in the gardens.

16 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

I have a set that we drag out once every couple of years!! We don't take it seriously but we do have fun.

Laurent said...

I just LOVE this picture. The frame, the composition and yes of course the eyes all in the same direction. Beautiful !

Louis la Vache said...

Yes! You really did a good job of capturing the concentration. When «Louis» lived in the suburb Mandres-les-Roses, there was a small park near where he caught the bus. Petanque players were frequently there. One woman was a regular in the group.

Paula said...

We brought back a set of "boules" after our two years in France. We had them for a long time and then I guess they were given away but I still remember them. It's fascinating to me that the game is still played and with such devotion.

Virginia said...

As a matter of fact, I played last summer in the countryside. I'm not all that athletic so for me it was great fun, something even I could do.

Jilly said...

I love this and you are so right, this is taken very seriously in France. Wives carry tapemeasures - discussions are part of the game and the technique of throwing - ah, there are books written on the subject!

StyleSpy said...

Do you think a visiting American could talk guys like this into teaching her how to play?

Virginia said...

Style,
Oui! I made friends with a group last summer. Only one was French, the others from various places. They were able to show me a little and when the words failed them, they sent me down to another game where one of the players spoke some anglais. I had great fun photographing the whole thing.

Jilly, Oh yes, the different throwing techniques are fascinating. I love the "click" and "thud" sounds that the metal balls make.

Laurent,
I'm flattered. Merci!

Jacob said...

These games must go on all over Paris...we watched them playing near the Eiffel Tower...I thought it was bocce, though.

Mister Earl said...

It's very much like bocce, it seems, only bocce is played on a long, narrow, space, like horseshoes or bowling, while petanque is played in a circle.

Bob said...

On my first trip to Paris, climbing the never-ending steps to Sacre Coeur, I saw a group of men playing and took their picture through the trees. I've never played though.

altadenahiker said...

The arms are judgemental, but everyone has a different verdict.

TheChieftess said...

Interesting...I'd never heard of Petanque before...

Also interesting that throughout the discussion here there's not much reference to women playing, other than our delightful hostess...is this primarily a "males only" tradition???

Virginia said...

Chieftess,
Oh I didn't PLAY with my new friends that day. I wouldn't have dared to suggest that! :) I sat and watched and they would come over to me and try to explain. THey were all about giving me the score updates! I did see a very few women watching. I"ve ventured the opinion that most were out shopping!HA

TheChieftess said...

Hmmmm....Petanque or shopping in Paris...I get it!!!!

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, nice one, Hiker!