Charlesgate Pétanque

A site for players of the French game pétanque in the Boston area.


Welcome to Charlesgate Pétanque!

Pétanque (usually pronounced pay-TONK in English) is a French game similar to bocce that involves throwing or rolling metal balls called boules at a small target ball, the cochonnet. Pétanque differs from bocce in the frequent use of shooting, or powerfully knocking opponents’ boules away from the cochonnet using a hard throw rather than a soft lob. Although shooting can be an exciting part of the game, it is a relatively advanced technique and is not necessary to play well and have fun. Indeed, pétanque was specifically designed to be accessible to people of all ages and physical abilities. If you can stand in a circle and roll a ball, you can play pétanque!

Charlesgate Pétanque is an informal group of pétanque players in the Boston area. We play our games at the Charlesgate Boulodrome (basically a semi-flat patch of fine packed gravel under a bridge) in scenic Charlesgate Park, which is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace Park System (designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted). Anyone is welcome to join us – we always have extra boules available for newcomers who do not own a set. We announce our game days/times on the Boston Petanque Facebook site, and our Instagram profile is @charlesgate_petanque. You can visit our Scheduling Blog to enter your preferred playing times for the current week, or contact us directly if you are interested in hosting an event at the Boulodrome.

Here’s a brief video from a typical day at the Boulodrome (thank you to videographer Stephen Malagodi!).