A game that originated in France is now taking America by storm. It's called Petanque, and there is a growing Valley following.

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It looks like part bocce, part lawn bowling, part curling, but there's no question Petanque is fully, addicting. Four times a week the Fresno Petanque Club gathers at Cary Park.

The rules of Petanque are simple: make a circle to stand in with both feet on the ground. Then throw out the small ball, called a cochonnet, anywhere from six to 10 yards ahead. Then try to throw the boules, which weigh around two pounds apiece, as close to the cochonnet as possible. After three boules, the player with the most boules closest to the cochonnet, earns points, and the first to 13 wins.

The players say that is the best part of Petanque: anyone can play, at any time. Novices versus masters. Men versus women.

The Fresno Club is among the fastest growing clubs in the country, beginning with 10 players in 2006, and increasing to 106 earlier this month. And they're still looking for more competition, or just conversation.

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