The ACCENT Paris Pétanque Tournament!

Today’s post celebrates a proud ACCENT Paris tradition: The ACCENT Paris Pétanque Tournament! Intern Luis Rocas outlines the rules of this traditional French game, describes this year’s competition, and reveals the bittersweet history behind this much-loved annual event.

On July 6th, ACCENT’s Executive Director Ray Vernon organized a pétanque tournament with the professors and students from the University of Wisconsin, Coast Community College District, and Michigan State University. Pétanque is a game similar to bocce ball, wherein players try to roll several large balls as close as possible to a smaller target ball.

We all went from the ACCENT Paris Center to the sandpits near the Place de la Bastille. It was a great opportunity to see the beautiful Opéra de Bastille and to appreciate the weather while walking on the banks of the Seine.

Once we arrived, Ray started to explain the rules of pétanque. In pétanque, you have 2 teams in competition. Each team has to score points. The team who has 7 points first wins the match. Each team can have no more than 6 players and each player has one ball to throw. Before throwing the balls, one of the captains has to throw the cochonnet (the target ball, literally the “piglet”). Once the captain throws it, the purpose is to throw the balls as near as possible to the cochonnet to score a point. Once everyone has thrown their ball, the team with a ball closest to the cochonnet gains a point.

We had 9 teams, all named after French cities and regions: Paris, Reims, Cannes, Lyon, Provence, Marseille, Pau, Toulouse, Champagne and Avignon. The final match happened to be between Lyon and Paris. Competition was in the air! Everyone wanted to win the cup! The Paris team eventually won the tournament, so they were granted the Roland Bellugue Cup. ACCENT named this cup in honor of Roland Bellugue, a professor from Cerritos College who died of cancer in 2000. Ray Vernon organized the first ever ACCENT pétanque tournament with him. Since then, the pétanque tournament has been a tradition at the ACCENT Paris Study Center.

It was a great experience, with good weather and lots of fun!

Merci à Ray pour cette activité!~Luis Rocas, ACCENT Paris

Ready to travel to Paris and play a game of pétanque yourself? Research your study abroad options at