Paris places to watch / play boules

Old Mar 30th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Paris places to watch / play boules

As my kids have been putting together their lists of "things I would be interested in seeing in Paris" they came across a picture of men playing boules, and it went on their list.

So my question, are there particular places to go to watch people playing boules? Or is that like asking where can you see people playing frisbee where the answer would be you can pretty much go to any park on a sunny weekend? And could our family just up and start playing (as a set of boules has also made it onto the potential souvenirs list) again, like playing catch in a park, or are there set locations (i.e. like a ball diamond in a park). Most of what I've read seems to indicate more of a "keep off the grass" kind of mindset to parks.

Thanks very much!
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Old Mar 30th, 2009, 01:49 PM
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Boules/pétanque is normally played on special courts--large ones, with sets of players choosing their own areas. The surface is just hard dirt. I'd suggest doing some watching (first looking up the rules on line) while experienced guys (yes, it's mostly men who play, although we have seem women on occasion) play. Then find a spot well away from the regular players and have at it.

We bought a set of boules (note: they are HEAVY) in Arles and brought them home; we play every chance we get. I'm glad I finally found a sport at which I'm reasonably good, thanks to the tuition of our French neighbors some years back. It's a great game.
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Old Mar 30th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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We have watched the players in Luxemborg Gardens every time we go to Paris. Several times when they were practicing and not in a game, they asked my husband to join in---cool!
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Old Mar 30th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Besides the Luxembourg, you might see it where large boulevards have a sufficiently wide central strip for small park and play areas to be built in (say, along Blvd Richard Lenoir, I think), or if the "Paris Plages" are being set up again this summer, there will be areas set up there (I'm sure I saw some last August along the river and around the Bassin de la Villette).

I assume it's discouraged in parks where otherwise obviously suitable terrains are primarily used as paths and children may be running around, but I suppose it's not unknown - but not predictable - in plenty of smaller incidental open spaces and small squares.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 03:13 AM
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Thanks very much for your replies!
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 03:31 AM
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There is an old Roman amphitheatre Arene Lutece in general area of Moufftard-people played there as well when we visited. Luxembourg is your best bet.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 04:52 AM
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Along the bassin de la Villette (metro Riquet), there are dozens of groups playing pétanque.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:35 AM
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Both those locations could possibly work into places to wander by after our scheduled morning activity. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Hi CV,

I suggest the Arenes de Lutece.

You not only get to watch the boules players, you get to do it in a 1st C Roman ampitheater.

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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:48 AM
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PS,

Metro stop Cardinal Lemoine.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:53 AM
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I always stop by the Invalides Esplanade (between La Musee de l'Armee and Le Pont Alexandre III) for a look at Paris at play: boules in the treed areas, football/soccer in the grassy ones. The boules games among the regulars - with tape measures, pick-up magnets, and some serious trash talking (which I wish I could understand!) - are a delightful way to pass an hour as a spectator.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 05:53 AM
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There are always boules players in the big park off the Avenue de la Tour Maubourg in front of the Musée de l'Armée. And the Arènes de Lutèces.
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Old Mar 31st, 2009, 01:36 PM
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I've seen them play in the Tuileries along the sides towards Place Concorde, Luxembourg Gardens near the basketball courts, Palais Royale garden under the side trees near the central fountain, and in the Roman Arena right where the lions would have been! And on no specific days...just keep your eyes open wherever there is a plot of flat dirt.
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Old Apr 1st, 2009, 03:05 AM
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Perfect - thanks again!
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Old Apr 1st, 2009, 05:36 AM
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If you're staying near the 15th, there is a pétanque court across from the apartment where we stay at on rue Blomet between r.d. Volontaires and rue Cambronne, north side of the street.
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Old Apr 1st, 2009, 03:00 PM
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Thank you stokebailey - we are actually staying on Isle Saint Louis, but do plan to visit the 15th, so I have noted that as well. thanks!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2009, 04:10 AM
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Lots of old guys hang out at that rue Blomet place. I guess it's a club. We never attempted to play.
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