Imagine this - over 12,000 pétanque players from 27 different countries compete. This is the The Mondial La Marseillaise à Pétanque, a massive tournament that attracts teams from around the world for over 60 years. While the exact number of teams can vary from year to year, the tournament typically sees participation from thousands of teams.
The tournament happens every July in Marseille, France, at Parc Borély. The Château Borély, an elegant mansion dating back to the 18th century, stands as a prominent architectural feature for the games. Instead of a whistle being blown to begin the games, a canon is set off at the castle - an unforgettable sound. Besides Parc Borély, the tournament also takes place at more than 20 different locations throughout Marseille. The multi-day event features intense competition among very skilled petanque players. It's also a great way to see professional players up close and perhaps even play against them, although that wouldn't be good as the format is single elimination. The team format is select triplettes; there are also women's and juniors' competitions. Getting to day two means you're fairly good; getting to day three means you're really good. Being eliminated early isn't all bad. You can drink pastis, play pick up games, and watch your favorite teams compete. What's great about this tournament is the accessibility of the event. For a few euros, anyone can partake and have fun.
Apart from the competition itself, the tournament is also an opportunity for players and enthusiasts from all over to come together, exchange experiences, and celebrate the sport of pétanque. It has become a symbol of Marseille's pétanque culture and contributes to the promotion of the sport. Vive la pétanque!