Places to Play Pétanque in the Bay Area

1. Pétanque Bowling Field

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco (map)

SF Weekly - Best of the Bay 2008

Best Place to Play Pétanque

Pétanque Bowling Field, Golden Gate Park

Near 38th Ave. and Fulton, Between the buffalo paddock and the dog-training field.

Golden Gate Park has so many tucked-away, little-known attractions — the cardplayers' shelter, the fly-casting pool, the archery field, the lake reserved for model yachts and sailboats — it isn't surprising that there's a tree-lined clearing set aside for the purpose of playing pétanque. Formally invented (after a lengthy gestation period) 101 years ago in Provence (Balzac and Pagnol were aficionados), the game resembles Italian bocce and English lawn bowling but has its own particular mystique. The idea is to stand, feet together, and toss heavy, palm-sized steel boules at a smaller wooden ball (the cochonnet); whichever team gets its boules to roll closest to the cochonnet wins. One recent sunny afternoon, members of La Boule d'Or were practicing for the following day's tournament. The myriad strategies surrounding this seemingly simple pastime were impressive indeed (players can try to dislodge opponents' boules or the cochonnet itself). Benches are provided for kibitzers or the merely curious.

Take Park Presidio Boulevard
Turn right on Fulton street, along north side of Golden Gate Park
Turn left on 36th avenue into the park

Turn right at the next small street and find the courts ¼ mile down the road next to the dog training area

2. Pierre Joske Courts

Civic Center Dr, San Rafael (map)

Access parking lot via Armory Drive

3. Flood Park

Menlo Park (map)

Exit Hwy 101 on Marsh Rd, toward Atherton
Go 0.5 mi.
Turn left on Bay Rd.
Go 0.7 mi
Flood Park is on your left

Do you know of other suitable places to play pétanque in the Bay Area? If so, please contact!