Mark loves to get out the bocci ball set for gatherings back home. So when the opportunity presented itself to play boules (pronounced "bule", something like "mule") at our last hotel - Le Marronnier (the Chestnut tree) - he was all over it.
This was done in conjunction with Happy Hour, that period of the day after we've pulled into the hotel for the day, have washed out our kits in the bathroom sink and showered, then gone downstairs for conversation and drinks.
|Sign in the bar of Le Marronnier|
Briefly, boules involves tossing a little silver ball onto the ground some distance away, then the players toss balls, trying to get as close to the silver ball as possible. Sometimes (often), one has to look closely to see whose ball is the closest, as in the following picture, and the result is manifest. At other times, such as in the second picture below, it is necessary to measure distances.
|Note Michelle's universal sign of triumph|
I suspect that, as we move further south into Provence, there will be more boules, or as it is called in Provence, pétanque.
I was first introduced to boules while on my mission 30 years ago. In every town in which I was stationed as a Mormon missionary, you could always find men of a certain age playing under sycamore trees on a hard, gravely surface in the center of town or elsewhere. The following picture was taken when I was in my last area, Pau, in the fall of 1985. Note that they, too, are measuring.
The following pictures depict what life is like at the end of the afternoon wherever we go: cycling kits hanging over railings to dry.