Thanks for the Pétanque

“If you always follow the rules, you’ll never have any fun.”

— Katherine Hepburn


Life is full of immutable rules. Gravity for example. Or the inevitable fleetingness of time. You can try to ignore them, but eventually they will remind you of their existence. And then there are the kinds of rules that, when broken properly, provide the moments in life that are truly worth savoring. It is for these special moments that our private, 13-acre estate was created, renowned as one of the best boutique hotels in Palm Springs.

One of our favorite ways to break the rules at Parker Palm Springs is when we play Pétanque, the French boules games. It is one of those games you enjoy, with friends old or new, that is just more fun when you follow the house rules. Pétanque our way may just make you feel like time can stand still.

Here is how to play Pétanque, Parker Palm Springs style.

Go outside. From your room, wander out into our lush, oasis-like gardens and breathe in deeply the fragrant air of the hundreds of citrus trees on property – you will need a clear mind for what is about to come. Then, follow the meandering path, past hammocks strung beneath soaring palm trees, to the shaded corner where two Pétanque courts await. 

Order a Pastis. Like a Pimm’s Cup and Croquet, no self-respecting Frenchman can play Pétanque without this inspirational addition. As your afternoon passes, if you come to believe that Pétanque was invented as an excuse to sit around with friends and indulge in Pastis, you would not be wrong.

Review the ‘official’ rules. Like bocci or lawn bowling but more fun, (apologies to our Italian and English friends), the game begins by throwing a small ball called the Cochonnet, or ‘little pig’, down the court. Leave it where it comes to rest. The players then select three boules. With feet together, each player throws a boule, attempting to get as close to the Cochonnet as possible. The player who is farthest away throws next and players continue to throw in order until all boules are thrown, and the round is complete.

  • Parker Palm Springs Counter Reformation Bar Setting
  • Fire Pit Daytime
  • Hammocks amongst grove of palm trees

Try to keep score. The player with the boule closest to the Cochonnet is declared the winner of the round and only the winner can score points. They receive one point for each boule that is closer to the Cochonnet than all of their opponents’ boules, up to three points. If, at any time a dispute arises over scoring, another round of Pastis must be ordered to ensure an equitable settling of differences. Play continues with the winner of each round throwing the Cochonnet until someone reaches 13 points. 

Post game. Retire to Counter Reformation, our on-property ode to lively Parisian eateries. It is the perfect spot to enjoy an eclectic selection of wines by the glass and savory sharing plates, while recounting the shots of the day.

Pétanque is one of those special games where the time spent playing together matters more than the outcome. Along the way, if you forget the score or even to keep score, then you have officially learned how to properly break the rules when at Parker Palm Springs.


About Us

Parker Palm Springs is quietly known as the luxury hotel in Palm Springs. We offer only 144 rooms on thirteen acres of exclusive, private property.

Contact us today to help plan your next vacation, weekend escape, special event, or wedding.


Call 760-321-4606 or email us with questions

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