French pétanque vs Italian bocce ball - Master the 🇫🇷 🅿️étanque vs 🇮🇹 🅱️occe

While both French pétanque (boule) and Italian bocce ball are popular bowling-style games that share some similarities, there are several key differences between the two. As a professional bocce ball player, I've had the opportunity to experience both games and can provide some insights into their unique characteristics. For a more detailed comparison, you can refer to our comprehensive guide on bocce ball and pétanque.

Playing Surface

One of the most noticeable differences between pétanque and bocce ball is the playing surface. Pétanque can be played on a variety of surfaces, such as gravel, sand, or grass, and does not require a specific court. Bocce ball, on the other hand, is typically played on a flat, smooth, and well-maintained court with specific dimensions (usually 27.5 meters long and 2.5 to 4 meters wide).


Both games use a set of balls and a smaller target ball, but there are differences in the size and material of these balls. Pétanque balls, or boules, are made of metal and are smaller and heavier than bocce balls, which are made of a hard plastic or resin material. The target ball in pétanque, called the cochonnet, is made of wood and is smaller than the bocce ball's target, known as the pallino. For more information on bocce ball equipment, you can check out our complete guide to bocce ball sets.

Throwing Technique

In pétanque, players must throw their boules with both feet planted on the ground, usually within a small circle. The goal is to get as close as possible to the cochonnet while remaining within the designated playing area. Bocce ball players, however, can take a few steps before releasing their ball, and they can choose to either roll, toss, or bounce the ball towards the pallino.


Scoring in pétanque and bocce ball is quite similar, with points awarded to the team whose balls are closest to the target. However, in pétanque, only one team can score points in each round, while in bocce ball, both teams can potentially earn points. Additionally, pétanque is typically played to 13 points, while bocce ball is played to a predetermined number of points, often 12 or 16. For a deeper understanding of the scoring rules in bocce ball, you can read our article on understanding crucial game rules.

Team Size

Pétanque can be played as singles, doubles, or triples, with each player having two, three, or four boules, respectively. Bocce ball is usually played in teams of two or four players, with each player having two balls.

In conclusion, while both pétanque and bocce ball share some similarities, they are distinct games with unique rules, equipment, and playing styles. If you're interested in trying both games, I encourage you to do so, as each offers a fun and engaging experience that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. If you're new to bocce ball, you might find our comprehensive guide for beginners helpful.

Kendrick Vandervort
When he's not playing bocce ball, David enjoys hiking and camping. He also volunteers with a local youth sports organization.

Kendrick is a seasoned bocce ball player with numerous championships under his belt. He has a passion for teaching others to enhance their skills and improve their bocce ball game.