Essential and Optional Equipment


The only equipment you need to play pétanque is three boules per player (or two each if you have teams of three) and a jack. Leisure boules are fine for casual play.



'Leisure Boules'

Many people already have a set of these, they're widely available and can often be found in sports shops, department stores and sometimes even in supermarkets and garden centres.  They are chrome plated and nearly always come in sets of 6 or 8.  This is unfortunate because it means that they're marked (with indented stripes) as pairs instead of threes so you may want to use a dab of paint or similar to make them distinguishable as sets of three.


Unless you want to enter official competitions a set of leisure boules is all you need, but if the bug bites you'll probably want to upgrade to a set of competition boules.  Your old leisure boules won't be wasted though, you'll need them when you want to introduce friends and relatives to the game.

If you want to try before you buy, the Oxfam shop (3 Montpellier Parade, a few doors down the hill from Betty's) has a stock of rental boules available and the club always have some spare boules for visitors to club sessions.

Competition Boules

Most regular players will aspire to a set of competition boules. Competition boules have several advantages, they are available in a range of sizes to fit a players hand size, they come in a range of weights to suit a player's preferences, they vary in the hardness of the steel, they are stamped with identifying marks that make each set unique, and of course they're certified for play in all official competitions up to and including internationals.  See


They are almost exclusively imported from France and will cost from about £60 for a set of three.  Like most sports, practice rather than buying more expensive equipment is the route to better play, but a competition boule does feel nicer in the hand!



 Tatou Boules

Coming somewhere between leisure boules and competition boules in both quality and price are Obut's "Tatou" range.  They are not authorised for official competitions but are better made than leisure boules, cheaper than competition boules and have a choice of markings designed to appeal to the younger player.  Their designs also make them stand out well in a game.

Jack (cochennet)

This is a 30mm diameter wooden ball. Garden sets usually come with natural wood jack, which are fine for grass. For natural surfaced terrains its better to get
brightly coloured ones.  The club holds a stock of coloured jacks.

Optional equipment

A small rag or duster (strongly recommended).
Your hands and boules will get dusty during play and there's nothing more frustrating than mis-throwing at a critical point in the game because the boule slipped out of your hand.


Lets everyone see at a glance how the game is going (and avoids those little 'discussions' where people's memories of the score differ!)  Scoreboards can be bought but these are often quite expensive so most people use a little ingenuity and make their own.

  Another option is to buy one of the pocket scorers such as this one from Obut.


It's not always obvious who's the closest so you need a measure to decide.  Leisure boules sets usually come with a length of cord, not because it's a good way to measure but because costs next to nothing to include.

A better alternative is to buy a cheap retractable tape measure from a DIY store. 


Magnet on a cord
For players who have difficulty in bending down to pick up their boules.

Plastic throwing circle
An alternative to scratching the throwing circle into the gravel.