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A French form of bowls, or boules (a variant of the latter is also known as boules Lyonnaise, based in the Lyons region of France). Standing with the feet together at a specified mark, the player aims metal balls at a small wooden ball, on a gravel or dirt surface. The game is widely played in France, where every small town or village will have enthusiasts and dedicated public areas for play; the game can also be played on grass surfaces. It originated in the first decade of the 20th century in Provence, whose dialect gave the sport its name, pétanque meaning ‘feet closed’, referring to how the thrower must keep the feet together when launching the ball. The Fédération Française de Pétanque & de Jeu Provençal has reported 375,000 registered players, though millions of French people play the game casually, on vacations and on feast-days. The federation abides by the national Ministry of Youth and Sport's conditions, and so declares its support for the fight against doping/drugs, an absurd necessity for an accessible, inexpensive sport rooted in tradition, community, and recreational leisure.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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