Construction & Design

The complete guide to building a pétanque court at your rental chalet

Pétanque, a quintessential French pastime, has found its way into the hearts of many visitors to the French Alps. The clinking of steel balls and laughter echoing across chalet gardens have become synonymous with leisurely Alpine holidays.

In response to the question of whether you should build a pétanque court at your rental chalet, the OVO Network’s answer is unequivocal: YES – and in this article we explain why. We provide all the insights to help you decide whether adding a pétanque court to your property is a sound investment.

The allure of a pétanque court at a luxury chalet

1. Entertainment

A pétanque court offers endless entertainment for guests of all ages. It’s a perfect social activity that encourages interaction among your guests, creating lasting memories.

Pétanque court at Chalet Caramel/Nougat
Guests staying at Chalet Caramel and neighbouring Chalet Nougat in Manigod have shared use of the petanque court, gardens and indoor pool

2. Discovering French culture

Embracing pétanque at your chalet introduces your guests to an authentic slice of French culture and is an opportunity to immerse them in a beloved local tradition.

3. Differentiation

With so many chalets available, standing out is crucial. A pétanque court can set your property apart, making it more appealing to potential guests.

Petanque/bowling Chalet Hollygotty
Guests at Chalet Hollygotty, La Clusaz can enjoy views towards Etale and Beauregard while playing a game of pétanque

4. Property value

Adding a pétanque court can increase the value of your chalet, making it a more attractive asset if you decide to sell.

5. The return on investment of a pétanque court

Contrary to popular belief, the mountains offer just as much in summer as they do in winter and thousands of tourists flock to the Alps for their summer holidays. So, not only does adding a pétanque court to your chalet cater to summer guests, but can also attract more bookings in spring and autumn, when the weather is still mild.

What’s more, guests are often willing to pay more for a chalet that offers unique leisure activities like this. So it’s a win-win scenario!

Petanque court Chalet Lydie
The outdoor spaces at Chalet Lydie have spectacular views of the stunning Manigod valley as a backdrop

6. Guest satisfaction and glowing reviews

Guest feedback consistently highlights the value of having a pétanque court. Positive reviews attest to the enhanced guest experience, with many expressing their delight at discovering this enjoyable French pastime during their stay.

Take a look at some review left by OVO Network guests…

Everything has been well thought out and tastefully decorated. We particularly enjoyed playing pétanque in the garden with breathtaking views of the snow-covered peaks. The terrace is very pleasant and the petanque court is a great plus!

Caroline B, Chalet Arsene & Lea, Manigod

What a fantastic chalet! We will forever remember our pétanque competitions, as well as the moments spent in the hot tub.

Isabelle D, Chalet Chamallow, Manigod
There’s ample shade for playing on hotter days at Chalet Chamallow, Manigod

A fantastic week spent with friends at Lodge Les Confins in La Clusaz. The area is beautiful and tranquil and the views are stunning, the kids loved the pool and played boules every evening on the pétanque pitch.

Amanda C, Lodge Les Confins, La Clusaz
Petanque court Chalet Colombine
With terraces on each side of the chalet, the outdoor spaces at Chalet Colombine, in Villard-sur-Thones, really do provide something for everyone

Factors to consider before building a pétanque court

1. Location and space

While flat gardens are not a common feature of Alpine chalets, many properties feature narrow strips of flat land that have the potential to be transformed into a pétanque court. Perhaps you have a similar spot in your garden, which is in the shade for most of the day, an awkward shape, overlooked by neighbours, at the edge of the parking or tucked around the side of the property? If so, a private pétanque court could transform these otherwise unused outdoor spaces and keep guests of all ages entertained in most weathers.

Another thing you will need to consider when building the court is whether there is sufficient drainage to deal with wet weather and if there’s a way of providing some shade from the sun for the warmer months.

Petanque court Chalet Carter
This conveniently located court at Chalet Carter in St Jean de Sixt allows guest to enjoy a game of pétanque whilst dinner is cooking on the BBQ

2. Laws and regulations

Planning permission is not often required for building a pétanque court, however, it’s always worth checking at your local mairie (town hall) to ensure you’re abiding by all rules in your specific region.

If your chalet is located close to other properties, it’s a good idea to give neighbours a heads-up about the work and avoid constructing the court too close to their windows so there’s minimal noise pollution.

3. Budget and costs

Before diving into construction, you’ll need to make sure you have a sufficient budget for your project. Costs will vary depending on a number of factors:


Depending on the amount of flat land you have available to you, there will be differing levels of earthwork required. Obviously, the more work needed, the more expensive the project will become.


The desired size of your pétanque court will impact your budget, too. It’s really up to you how big you want the court to be, but as a point of reference, you can refer to formal guidelines. For example, official competition courts are 15x4m with lower-level courts measuring 12x3m.

Chalet Les Roses des Alpes in Thônes pétanque court
Chalet Les Roses des Alpes in Thônes boasts a pétanque court with stunning scenery all around

Materials and finishes

The typical gravel used for pétanque courts is dolomite gravel (limestone) which is one of the cheapest on the market. However, finishing touches such as the framing beams or seating around the court will affect the cost.

Here’s a rough idea of what you’ll need:

  • Four to six tonnes of large gravel;
  • 10 to 15 tonnes of fine gravel;
  • 60 to 70 m² of perforated geotextile fabric;
  • Two to three tonnes of river sand;
  • “Autoclaved bastaings” (the wooden beams) or railway sleepers for a cheaper solution.

We’d recommend having a professional contractor carry out the work. On average, expect to pay between 3000-4000€ for the construction.

The pétanque court at Chalet Julena in Thônes is located conveniently close to the chalet, so guests can easily grab a drink from mid-play

Added extras

You can also go the extra mile and add additional touches such as:

  • Lighting: 10€ to 250€ per light, depending on make and model, plus extra for installation (approximately 30€ to 50€ per hour);
  • Outdoor furniture: Between 30€ to 150€ for chairs and 30 to 300€ for a table depending on sizes, brands, quality, etc;
  • Shade (parasol): 50€ – 900€ depending on make and model;
  • Plants/decorations: Budget around 200€ to add a few plants and decorative items around the court so it looks more attractive.
  • Pétanque set: Around 30€ for a basic kit and up to 80€ for high-end sets.
Petanque court Chalet Lydie
The pétanque court at Chalet Alex, in St Jean de Sixt, runs the length of the rear garden behind the chalet and has plenty of extra amenities for comfort including the parasol and outdoor durniture

4. Maintenance and upkeep

Additionally, pétanque courts require regular maintenance. Seasonal preparations, such as cleaning, levelling, and re-gravelling, are essential to keep it in top condition.

5. Seasonality

While pétanque courts are extremely desirable assets for summer guests in the Alps, due to heavy snowfall in winter, they’re not a year-round facility such as a hot tub or games room.

However, considering they’re a relatively low-cost amenity that will get plenty of use throughout spring, summer and autumn, they’re still an extremely worthwhile investment.

Chalet Kalyssia petanque court
Stunning views of the mountains and lake surround the pétanque court at Chalet Kalyssia in St Jorioz

Incorporating a pétanque court into your rental chalet can be a wise decision. It not only adds entertainment and cultural enrichment but also sets your property apart from the competition, potentially increasing its value and rental income. And although there are some considerations such as seasonality, cost and maintenance, the pros of adding a pétanque court far outweigh the cons.

To explore more high-end and luxury amenities and discover how OVO Network can help you maximise your rental income, check out our other articles about extra facilities we know guests love:

If you’re interested in learning how much more rental income you could generate with OVO Network, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to assist you in making the most of your chalet investment.

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