I discovered the pétanque gentlemen for the first time at Luxembourg Gardens, the summer of 2009. That day I pulled up a chair and got friendly with a group of men, some of whom I see over and over when I return. They were a mix of nationalities and only one spoke any English at all. They were very friendly and tried as best they could to explain the game. One thing I've noticed, is that a cloth to wipe the dust off the metal balls seems to be obligatory. I have never seen one quite this worn and tattered. I'm thinking it might bring bonne chance!
Update: Merci to my blog friend Herm who has kindly written a little poem explaining the tradition of La Fanny in pétanque right here!