Beware Of Bouligans

L'horreur! With many French sports fans still hotly denying accusations that cycling is plagued by doping, imagine the outcry at suggestions that all is not right with the nation's other beloved plebeian pastime — pétanque. The iconic Provençal game (also known as boules, a reference to the three metal balls each player uses) is enjoyed casually by an estimated 15 million French people at least once a year — usually vacationers or older gents whiling away their retirement years.

As unstrenuous as its British cousin, darts, pétanque requires contestants to toss their metal projectiles closer to a small...

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