Pétanque (French pronunciation: [petɑ̃k]; Occitan: petanca [peˈtaŋkɔ]) is a sport that falls into the category of boules sports, along with raffa, bocce, boule lyonnaise, lawn bowls and crown green bowling. All of these sports share something in common, in that players or teams play their boules/balls towards a target ball.
In Pétanque the objective is to score points by having boules closer to the target than your opponent after all boules have been thrown. This is achieved by projecting boules closer to the small target ball, called a cochonnet, or by hitting the opponents' boules away from the target, while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground.
The game is normally and best played on hard dirt or gravel. It can be played in public areas in parks, or in dedicated facilities called boulodromes.
Pétanque players on the beach in Nice
The current form of the game originated in 1907 or 1910 in La Ciotat, in Provence, France. The French name pétanque (borrowed into English, with or without the acute accent) comes from petanca in the Provençal dialect of the Occitan language, deriving from the expression pès tancats [ˈpɛs taŋˈkats], meaning 'feet fixed' or 'feet planted' (on the ground).