Petanque is a form of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally “piglet”) or jack, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground.
The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass, sand or other surfaces. Similar games are bocce, bowls and (adapted to ice) curling.
The current form of the game originated in 1907 in La Ciotat, in Provence, in southern 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, meaning ‘feet together’ or more exactly ‘feet anchored’.