Mondial La Marseillaise A Petanque

Semifinal on the central court at Vieux Port

Semifinal 2006 on the central court at Vieux Port (Author: Schildt)

In July 2017, we (Lionel Pujol, Tony Stojsic and I) participated in the biggest international petanque competition in the world: Le  Mondial La Marseillaise à Pétanque. Held in Marseille over 5 days every July, anyone can come and play. Last year the numbers were slightly down – only about 4,700 teams participated (!!). When you lose a game, you’re out.

Even so, the organisers still had to find pistes for some 2,350 matches in the first round. We played in the carpark of a soccer stadium about 25 minutes north of the centre of Marseille (shuttle buses took us – great atmosphere on the buses) with 94 other matches going on at the same time. Our “piste” N° 95 was rocky, sloping, and more or less triangular, and had a metal manhole cover in the middle of it which made a loud bonging sound when a boule bounced on it. You live with it – that’s pétanque.

We won our first match which was a huge high, then were trounced in the second. It didn’t matter – we had no illusions about our chances: even at local club level, the quality of play is much higher over there – we were at La Marseillaise and the atmosphere was terrific. There was loud rock music, pastis, beer and other beverages flowing freely, plenty of merguez in baguettes (trans.: sausage sandwiches, but REALLY good ones), matches being played on every available surface, tens of thousands of people, great camaraderie. It was a huge fabulous celebration and all of us were there thanks to pétanque.

Tory McBride  (Prospect Petanque Club)

About ziggy

Currently President of the Prospect Petanque Club in Adelaide South Australia. Registered member of the Club 21 years, and a committee member for 21 years filling the role of President 7 years, Secretary 3 years, Treasurer 2 years. Age 71 years.
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