The Luxembourg Gardens is one of my favorite green places in Paris. I love it for the diversity of activities one can engage in there. There are tennis and basketball courts, chess tables, a playground for children and a special area dedicated to practicing tai chi and chi gong. This gorgeous park is also a home to several beehives, and it was on my way to check them out that I discovered strange-looking rectangular fields, bordered by low fences.
To enhance my confusion, in the middle there was a rack with coat hangers, and next to it there was a group of gentlemen, standing together in a small circle, staring at several metal balls on the ground. One of them was holding a rope with a magnet. That was how I got acquainted with petanque – a game of boules, born in Provence, in the coastal town of La Ciotat.
It requires a set of metal balls of significant weight and one small ball, a gravel or hard dirt playground, and a bottle of rosé or pastis to be enjoyed while discussing the game strategy and team performance. In the Luxembourg Gardens, the playgrounds are reserved for the regular patrons, but anyone can play beside them on an alley nearby.