Origin of Petanque

The Origin of Petanque described by E. PITIOT founding member and president of the Federation 

(translation below)


Cradle of Petanque

In tribute to Jules LE NOIR

who invented Petanque on this ground in June 1910

Origin of Petanque

It was in 1910 in LA CIOTAT, Bouches du Rhône, at the Jeu de Boules “Béraud “ which I operated with my brother, that the game of “Pieds-Tanqués" was born.

All the great players of the Jeu Provencal of the region met under the big plane trees of Béraud: the Marseillais GRAND-JEAN, the BLOND, LOMBARD known as le NOIR, PETIT-PAUL; the Toulonnais PARFELET, the GRELE, the PICH, CHIBALON, the MOULT, the ESPANET brothers of la GARDE, the ciotadens PINOT, the big CESAIRE, SAINT JEAN etc.  All these aces played daily games for money at the Jeu Provencal with many merchants of the City which attracted a large number of spectators - The latter were authorized for F0.05, to sit on chairs to follow the games but too often stopped the balls that were shot, because when seated they did not get up quickly enough.

The chairs were therefore removed to satisfy with just reason the players who complained.

This decision upset a good customer and friend "JULES le NOIR" merchant in LA CIOTAT who, crippled by rheumatism could hardly stay on his legs. He was exceptionally given permission to have a chair on the condition that he would remain quietly next to the circle that was traced before throwing the jack and where the players usually left their boules while waiting for their turn.

And from there, our JULES who could not participate in any game, often had fun shooting at 1.50 or 2 meters with the balls remaining in the circle. I am training, he told me. So that one day, sure to make him happy, I offered him to play, without moving, the "tanked feet" from 2 to 3 meters... and we played.

The next day we played again as well as the following days. The many old players who were watching us also played, so much so that my brother organized a competition for the following Saturday. It counted 8 teams of 2 players with a first prize of 10 Francs.

Pieds-Tanqués was born...

The contests followed one another and one played from 3 to 5 meters.

The game spread in the surrounding area, but it was thanks to the numerous navigators, at LA

CIOTAT shipyards, that it took a rapid extension, because these navigators played at Pieds-Tanqués in all the ports where they stopped.

The Game which was called indifferently "Pieds-Tanqués" “Piedtanque” or "Pétanque" definitively became "Pétanque" during the preparation of the first official regulations by the LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON Federation of which I have been one of the founding members and President for many years.


All my thanks to the Municipality of La Ciotat.