Photo Essay: Pétanque in the Jardin du Luxembourg

Photo Essay: Pétanque in the Jardin du Luxembourg
In the summer of 2009, while wandering through the Luxembourg Gardens, I happened upon the pétanque courts. The players themselves, mostly men of a certain age, as well as the interesting spectators, drew me in. Before I knew it, I had pulled up a green chair alongside them and started snapping away. One of the players spotted me and delighted in explaining the rules of the game in French, but I got the general idea. Pétanque is similar to boules, which is played in the south of France but with smaller metal balls. The games get quite spirited, and it seems a good bit of time is spent standing around staring at and discussing whose ball has come closest to the small wooden target ball called a cochonnet (which means “little pig”). Since that fist visit, I have returned to photograph the pétanque players many times. They are a hardy bunch and play even in the cold and light rain. I notice that, from time to time, younger players and even a few women join the game. Although Luxembourg has courts, if you are lucky, you can find groups playing in many of the gardens and parks around Paris — anywhere you can draw a circle in the dirt with a stick. Pétanque, a little slice of Parisian life.  

Lead photo credit : Pétanque in the Jardin du Luxembourg by Virginia Jones

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In 2007, Virginia Jones visited Paris for the first time. This former teacher credits that trip with her new career in photography and love of the City of Light. After her second trip in 2008, she created Paris Through My Lens, a daily photoblog. She travels to Paris once a year to photograph and has had her work published in a number of online sites and magazines. At home, she teaches photography classes, gives phototalks on Paris and her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and is currently working on Photos in French, a resource for French teachers, using her images of Paris gathered during her 11 trips to the city she considers her second home. Check out her Paris photography blog: