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Bastille Day Brings Petanque Tournament Back to the Streets

 The neighborhood celebrates the Bastille Day, July 14, with an annual petanque tournament and street fair.
Bastille Day in Carroll Gardens
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CARROLL GARDENS — Vive la Carroll Gardens!

Bastille Day is coming up toute suite and the neighborhood is getting ready for the July 14 celebrations with food, drink and of course, the annual pétanque tournament.

The game – similar to bocce – involves three metal balls that are thrown as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball while the player remains standing in an outlined circle.

Leslie and Jean-Jacques Bernat, owners of Smith Street eatery Provence en Boite, have been organizing the popular French sport in Carroll Gardens for about seven years.

“We’re the general quarters of the French,” said Leslie Bernat, referring to the French population of the neighborhood.

About six pétanque grounds are set up along Degraw Street and teams of two, called a “doublette,” can partake in the ancient sport, she said.

“It’s a very friendly tournament,” said Leslie Bernat, adding that players are welcome to register at the restaurant located at 263 Smith St.

Bastille Day is the French National Day that commemorates the Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille, a French fortress prison.

A certain je ne sais quoi has captivated Carroll Gardens since P.S. 58 The Carroll School started a popular French dual language program about five years ago and dozens of French families moved to the Brooklyn neighborhood, said Bernat.

“Everyone wanted to come here,” she said. "This neighborhood is becoming really French."