Palets - A not so well know French game

The other day we had a family meal at my parent's house. I took along my Palets set so that we could have a game in the garden after lunch. The majority of people know the famous French game of Boules or Pétanque where metal bowls are thrown towards a jack. However, not many know the game of Palets. 

The Rules Of Palets:

It's a similar idea, but you need less space than Boules. There is a lead plaque or plate just over a foot square which is placed on the ground either outside or in a garage if it's raining. You play from approximately 2m40, so this is the 'ocke' if it were darts. There are then the Palets, small round metal discs, twelve in total plus a slightly smaller jack. Two teams, or individuals can play, closest to the jack with one throw each wins control of the jack. The plaque needs to be lead so that the discs can purchase when they land.

So the game starts. Evenly distribute the discs between the players, the person who won 'closest to the jack' also gets the jack. The jack holder throws the jack trying to get it to land on the plaque. They have three attempts at this, if they fail it passes to the opposing team/player. Assuming they were successful they now throw a disc trying to land it on the plaque and as close as possible to the jack. Each team has a go until one team have a disc on the plaque.

Palets - Throwing the discs closest to the jack

At this point the team who have a disc on the plaque have a winning point. So, the other team must place a disc closer to gain the winning point. If they achieve this the other team try and get closer, if they do not they continue to try. You are allowed to knock the other teams discs off, however this is difficult to do. Once one team has exhausted their discs the winning point team have a great opportunity. They can now place as many of their remaining discs closer to the jack than the opposition's closest one thus increasing their score. When all discs have been thrown, it's time to count the score. From the jack closest disc is one point to that team. If the same team have the next closest that makes two points and so on until the opposing team have a disc which then stops scoring. This gives the winning team their points. So maximum score is 6 points, meaning that all their discs were closer to the jack than the opposition's. 

Closest player controls the jack and it starts again with them placing the jack. This continues until one team gains a score of 15. If in the final game they end up with more than 15 this is fine, it just adds insult to injury.

Palets - Scoring one game, match first to fifteen

If the jack is knocked from the plaque in any game it is a null game. If nobody gets any discs on the plaque that too is a null game and no points are scored. Discs which bounce on the floor before the plaque do not count and must be removed before the next disc is thrown. Discs which hang off the side of the plaque but do not touch the floor count, ones which touch the floor do not and must be removed. 

It's great fun, especially whilst enjoying a beer in the sunshine. 

Clear as mud I'm sure.


# Duncan McKenzie 2014-01-27 08:24
Hi Stuart,

I played this 40 years ago on a school exchange to France. I have been looking to buy a set but it is a difficult to find as hen's teeth. Do you have any idea where I could buy this?


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# Stuart Edge 2014-01-28 15:43
Hi Duncan,

I've not seen the sets on sale in the UK. My set was bought in France. The only thing I can think of is to try searching for online-order in France that would ship to the UK.

For the plate, it's too heavy to post really. You could try a local scrap metal merchants to see if they have lead.

Cheers, Stuart.
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# Richard 2014-06-21 22:18
I've got a set (bought in the Vende). Played it this evening actually - great fun, and did include beer and sunshine.

My rules say 3.8m throwing distance.
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# Henri 2014-07-07 10:42
You need to go to Brittany or surrounding area to purchase sets of Palet pieces, 2 sets of 1 to 12 will include jacks will be needed, boards can be purchased, but anything will do as long as it measures 700mmx700mm, I've made them out of 40mm thick good quality red woods (pine). We brought our first set in 1981 and have been playing the game ever since in England.
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# Mike Pownall 2014-09-09 07:16
The 2014-15 season is just starting in the hamlet where I have a house we meet at the community centre (formerly the school room) on a Thursday evening 8:30 to 10:30 should be quite good fun it also gets me involved in the community
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# Stuart Edge 2014-09-10 15:50
Hi Mike. This is the first time I've heard of 'organised palets' in the UK. Normally I play at family get togethers. In fact we played Sunday just gone. Safe to say I need to practice a bit, struggled with placing the jack,

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# Helen 2015-09-03 12:26
This is a website where you can buy the sets:
We bought one in Niort last month
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