I think this is basically a French game but with obvious variations in other places. It is like a form of bowling except you can toss the ball a long way if you want. I think the guy on the right (in the main photo) is disappointed in this point. Looks like the guy on the right in the second photo is on his cell phone. Either that or he has an ear ache! This game was in the Place des Etats-Unis but they are everywhere these guys can find a bare patch in a park. Maybe next time I will ask if I can join. I did notice in this game there were women and people from non-European ethnic origins - another form of egalite and fraternity.
The first time I visited the remains of the Roman Arene Lutece it was completely empty. This last visit it was full of life including these men playing petanque or boules. Checkout the website for the rules as well as this website too! http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Sports/DF_boules.shtml
The game, related to the Italian bocce and British lawn bowling, is reputed to have originated in the south of France. http://www.pavilion.co.uk/petanque/origins.html
Whatever the history these guys were having a lovely afternoon of it!
The French love their Boule. On many occasions I have come across old men playing Boule. Boule is a lot like lawn bowling. There is a small ball and each player has three chances to throw his larger, heavier ball towards the smaller in order to score points. The player who gets his "boule" the closest scores the point. I'm still having a difficult time understanding this simple game.
Forgive me if I forget the french name of the game. But once in a while if you looked around the parks you saw a group of men engaged in a game of bochee.
How cools that.