Struggling to find a live-work balance? Perhaps you should try pétanque during your lunch break.

That’s exactly what LACRA founder Marty Erck and employees at commercial leasing company rsf LA, Inc., Michael Preiss, Kevin Simpson, Andrew Upchurch, Hudson Maudlin and I did July 29. Eager for a workplace distraction, the group ventured to the p√©tanque courts in Palisades Park where they sent metal boules (French for ball) sailing into the sand.

Pétanque (pronounced pay-tonk) was invented in 1907 near Marseille, a port town in Southern France. To beat the opponent, individuals must throw boules as close to the jack (called cochonnet) as possible while standing in a circle with feet planted to the ground.

The City of Santa Monica converted the old shuffle board courts into a p√©tanque facility back in 2011. Because of the courts’ close distance from the ocean and pier, games are often observed by curious locals and tourists.

“We had quite the number of onlookers this afternoon,” Kevin Simpson, a commercial real estate broker at rsf LA, Inc. said.

Our office is located two blocks away from the beach, so playing pétanque is a nice interruption from work.

In addition to the convenience of the courts, the game itself is accessible to a range of demographics.

“[It] is a relaxing game that requires no special skills and can be played by all ages,” the City of Santa Monica stated on its Community & Cultural Services page.

“I’ve had an 8-year-old beat me and a 91-year-old beat me,” Mark Greenberg, Santa Monica p√©tanque ambassador, stated in an old SMDP article.

For more information about the pétanque courts at Palisades Park, visit

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