Monday, 06 May 2013 19:42

Boules - A pastime in Nerja

The game of boules, otherwise known as pétanque , is perhaps the sport that is closest to French hearts. Similar to British lawn bowling or Italian bocce , the French version is traditionally played with metallic balls on a dirt surface beneath plane trees, with a glass of pastis at hand. The object of the game is to throw your balls — usually with somewhat of an arched back-spin — so that they land closer to the small object ball (cochonnet ) than those of your opponent, or strike

and drive the object ball toward your other balls and away from your opponent's.

It is difficult to provide a precise list of the types of boules games, because as demonstrated above the same game can be known by different names in different languages and locations, and because the same name can be used for different local variations of a game. I guess you have to turn up and watch for a while to see if the game being played bears any resemblance to the game you know.

The game seems to have originated in ancient Greece and at that time they would certainly only played with stones - thankfully things have moved on since them. Mind you stones are cheaper!

Where can I play?

Similar to the local boulodrome which is a social focal point in southern France, Nerja has an abundance of areas dedicated to Boules and Petanque. Notable areas are at the seafront by Torrecilla beach at Plaza Congrejo and by the Supersol supermarket opposite Hotel Nerja Club right next to the skate board park although you will find that many of the urbanisation throughout Nerja, certainly the larger ones will have a Boules court tucked away somewhere. I have seen them at Capistrano Village, Verano Azul and many other urbanisations but for some reason they seem to be less active and most a bit over grown. I am assuming that because of security, guest players perhaps are not welcome as much in the actual urbanisations. If you are staying in a rental villa in nerja then you can always ask to use one, I see no harm in asking. Whilst you do not see much action during the summer months the sport takes a new lease of life during winter being a very popular pastime for visitors on long winter lets or just holiday makers staying in an apartment rental nerja and the expat community. The gathering can be quite large, 50 or so I have seen at times may be more either taking part or just onlookers.

How much does it cost?

As far as I can see - Nothing! All you need is to turn up with a set of Boules which can be purchased in many shops in Nerja and a sneeky bottle of Vino (rules of the game I think) and your away!

There is a local club where you can learn about the sport and join in a coffee with others like minded players. There is also a series of competitions throughout the year and the social scene includes organised dances and quiz nights.



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