Fresno Pétanque

We don't expect you'll be using these terms often, but as clubs grow, and their members travel to competitions at other clubs, you might hear these terms used and want to know what's going on. Why? Because a whole lot of pétanque involves what the opposing team is going to do next. Strategy in this game is important, so the more words you know in French, the better game you'll play...and the more fun you'll have! One more thing: in most foreign tongues, the vowels a,e,i,o,u are pronounced ah, eh, ee, oh and ooh. You're pretty safe using these in using French terms.





Umpire or Referee


The Umpire. Someone in each club should be designated Umpire who overseas any problems or discussions on the terrains. He is usually an authority on the rules of Pétanque and can become an official FPUSA Referee by taking a short course. Many clubs have more than one umpire.

La Belle

Third Game of Three


Often people enjoy playing three games in a set. La Belle is the third game, frequently the deciding game if the first two are tied.

But, Cochonnet

Jack, Little One,


"But" literally means goal. In Pétanque it is often used as the name for the smaller target ball, which is also frequently called "cochonnet" (Little Pig),"the jack," the "little one", "the (color) one" and many other names...some unprintable depending on the stress level of the game!


Strike, Hit, Blast


A direct aerial hit on one of the other team's boules which is considered strategic on many fronts. It can rid the terrain of a boule by forcing it outside the field of play, or it can cause the hit boule to smash into the cochonnet, thus moving it to a better position - perhaps nearer the tossing team's boule(s). Due to the laws of physics, often a good carreau can not only remove the competition's boule, but your own will replace it exactly, in which case if this occurs to the left or right of the bouchon, can gain the point. Or if occurring in front of the cochonnet can cause it to be moved to a more strategic position. The list is endless.


Hit on top


High level, confident talent required here. It's a boule landing atop another boule, but leaving that one in place, while your own boule glances off or rolls off to gain the point.

Consolante Ronde

Consolation Round


If you're in a tournament in which the final includes the top six teams, you wouldn't want to just stand around and watch, so the consolante (consolation round) is a game created for the "also rans" which allows all to continue playing, and frequently there's a prize for the top consolante team.




Can mean hand, give out, deal, and many other meanings as used. In this case, usually used to mean "how can I contribute?" or better, "where's the best place to place my next boule?"




When you get beat 13 to 0, you've been "Fannied." Evidently - and this is not based on firsthand information - there was a tavern owner in France named Fanny, who, after bragging she could beat any man at the game, and when challenged by some customers, ended up losing her game: her team scoring zero points. It was referred to as a "Fanny game" and the French pronounce it "fah-NEE."

J'ai le point

Have the point


When you or your team are ahead, you "have the point." And it is yours until the opposition either drops a boule closer to the cochonnet than any of your team's, or they take over the point by blasting your closest boule out of contention, replacing it with the one they tossed.


Mark the Spot


If you have to temporarily remove a boule, use a spare boule to pound it into the earth a bit, remove the boule, and then draw three lines out from the center of the dent (like a peace symbol) to indicate exactly where the boule should be replaced. "Holding the Point" is always a good goal in playing Pétanque.

marqueur et souleveur de boule

scorekeeper and boule lifter


scorekeeper ← A small leather device with two wheels with the numbers 1 to 13. One for "us" and one for "them". Keep one in your pocket along with an extensible, no-bending-over, boule lifter, also a ballpoint pen! →

These are two of the three necessities always in your pocket. The third: an extra emergency cochonnet! (Buy Here)


Game Over!


The game is over! You won the game and everyone is out of boules to toss, OR if the cochonnet/jack was blown out of the pitch. French players frequently accompany the term with a brief backhanded wave.


Direct Hit


A boule tossed so high it falls nearly vertically into place.




It's your turn. You carefully roll your boule to lightly tap another of your team's boules, pushing it to gain the point. OR a "cream of the crop" shot: you nudge the cochonnet just enough to take it away from the opposing team and push it next to your boule. You'll get happy slaps on the back for pulling that one off! This is one that players sneak onto a piste before the birds are even awak, and spend hours perfecting.

Tirer a la Rafle

Blow it out!


You've heard the word tirade? For the third time, some guy on the other team has gained the point. His boule is now resting up against the cochonnet to the side. You toss a boule so hard at it, that it floats 12 inches off the ground straight at it, blasting it out of contention - and laws of physics being perfect - your boule replaces it in the same bouleprint, and by some miracle, not moving the cochonnet! You've gained the point! (Cheers to you! You're now officially a Pétanque star.)

FP USA Fresno Pétanque Club


Fresno Pétanque Club
Cary Park
4750 N. Fresno Street, Fresno, CA

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