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Forget Wimbledon, football championships and the ‘O word’ we can’t mention, the highlight of our sporting calendar is the annual Pierre etVacances summer Petanque party.

This hotly anticipated event features wine, cheese and a fiercely fought Petanque contest, which is always guaranteed to bring out the competitive nature in all our lovely travel partners and francophile friends.

Getting into the French spirit: the Pierre & Vacances team

Here, the lovely Elodie from our team gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of organising our summer party, from choosing the wine and cheese in Calais, to hightailing it to a Parisian themed bar when the British weather threatened to spoil our fun! 

‘At 7am the day before the party I took the ferry from Dover with P&O Ferries (thank you to Daniel Acarnley for organising!) and went to Calais to buy all the French food and booze needed for our summer event.

On the ferry!

‘A short hour and a half later we were in Calais and decided to buy the drink first, white and red wine from “Calais à vin”. They had a huge range, so of course we had to try a few – to be sure we made the right decision of course!

What to choose?!

‘The day of the event came and all eyes were firmly glued to the weather forecast. Last year’s event was bathed in glorious sunshine, but sadly this year the weather was not on our side, with heavy rain and strong winds howling down on our little gazebo – not ideal conditions for playing Petanque on the beach!

Fun on Brighton beach

‘However, being the true sport and Petanque enthusiasts that we are, we still managed a small competition with the help of the Brighton Petanque Club Association – with a few people holding our gazebos down…

Le chic Paris House, Brighton

‘After the short competition and a fast “aperitif”, everyone sheltered from the storm in our local chic French bar “The Paris House” to continue the party in drier conditions.

French goodies…

‘Martyn Summers and Ian Burgess won the hotly contested Petanque competition, and to reward their dedication they each received a basket full of French local produce such as the famous Saucisson from Ardèche, a bottle of Sancerre and paté.’

A very happy man

Someone didn’t read the dress code…

Inspired by our Francophile fun? For Love France week we’re giving away two limited edition Pierre & Vacances Petanque sets over on our Facebook page!

Limited edition petanque set!

And thank you to everyone who braved the British weather and came along, the Paris House Brighton for taking us in at the last minute, and to KBC PR & Marketing Team for their contribution to the event.


Pierre & Vacances at the France Show 2012

January 20, 2012 1:40 pm
posted by Sarah

The France Show 2012! An eclectic mix of everything that makes France fantastique – travel, food, wine tasting, cooking demonstrations by talented French chefs, talks on France by well known writers and presenters, and cancan dancers!

The Pierre & Vacances stand at The France Show with the lovely Camilla

We had a very busy show, and met lots of lovely loyal Pierre & Vacances customers and new ones too. And there was of course the Pierre & Vacances petanque pitch, manned by our petanque expert Bruce, ready and waiting for intrepid fans to come and show us what their boules were made of!

Bruce and some budding petanque players

The pitch proved to be hugely popular, with Bruce kept busy playing, demonstrating and guiding the petanque players of the future who stopped by. And for those wanting to take the weight off their feet and have a rest, Jeremy was on hand to whip up a tipple of Marseille aperitif Ricard.

Jeremy shows us how to serve the delicious French tipple of Ricard

On Sunday we held a petanque pairs competition, featuring 18 teams from across the UK who battled it out for the first prize of a holiday to France with Pierre & Vacances and DFDS Ferries. The quality of the competition was fantastic and only a few players were distracted by the Ricard tasting available next to the terrain!

Lots of action on the petanque pitch

And the proud petanque winners were husband and wife team Lee and Angie Jamieson! With runners up Nick Goodheart and Mal Hanley from Harrow winning a limited edition Pierre & Vacances petanque set. All together now: oooh!

Limited edition petanque set!

Below are some more pictures from our The France Show weekend, hopefully tempting those who couldn’t make this year to put it in their diary for 2013!

Mr French Amabassador, with this France Show you are really spoiling us!


Cooking demonstrations


Delicious French food!


More delicious French food


Even more delicious French food!


Wine tasting


And Cancan dancers!

See you next year!



Pierre & Vacances at World Travel Market 2011

November 16, 2011 12:17 pm
posted by Sarah

World Travel Market – where the whole world converges [literally] under one roof in November. Where months of planning comes down to just four days of meetings, networking, parties and sore feet.

The Pierre & Vacances team on our stand at WTM

Want to know what Pierre & Vacances got up to this year? Well read on…

A spot of Après Ski

What better way to get into the winter spirit than with an après ski party? And it wasn’t hard to persuade people not to ‘slope’ off on the first day of WTM with drinks, hearty nibbles and some fantastique live music courtesy of the 101s who will be playing the Little World Festival in Meribel in 2012.

The 101s rock our après ski party!

But it wasn’t just a great excuse for a party; we also held a raffle for the excellent winter sports charity Disability Snowsport UK, here’s a short video about the fantastic work they do:

Disability Snowsport UK – Accept No Limits from John Currie on Vimeo.

And with prizes such as a ski holiday to France, Meribel Little World Festival tickets, lift passes to the 3 Valleys ski area, lift passes to the Alpe d’Huez ski area, ski hire, a limited edition Petanque set and a magazine subscription up for grabs, it’s not surprising that we raised a great amount for such a fantastic charity.

A limited edition Petanque set

So a huge thank you to Crystal Ski, Ski Set, Les 3 Vallèes, Alpe d’HuezMeribel Little World Festival and Racer Ready Magazine for their generous donations of prizes.

A glass of wine and a chunk of cheese

To celebrate WTM’s Responsible Tourism Day on Wednesday, we held a Green Wine and Cheese event on our stand – although it should be pointed out the cheese and wine weren’t actually green…

Delicious French wine and cheese

We plied people with delicious and authentic French wine and cheese from different regions in France, while our UK & Ireland Sales and Marketing Director, Cathy Rankin, presented the key elements of our sustainable approach, and the green initiatives being worked on for next year – and beyond! Interested? You can view Cathy’s presentation here!

Cathy presents Pierre & Vacances' sustainable approach

Here comes the cheese!

Plenty of cheese to go around guys...

Pierre & Vacances' Elodie dishes out French saucisson

And some green ideas

Going paper-free – To further support a sustainable message, the Pierre & Vacances’ press pack went paper-free this year! Instead of paper packs we handed out these nifty and specially designed USB sticks made from renewable materials.

A bag for [a ski] life – As French ski resorts are plastic bag free, we’ve designed an eco bag for life which can be used to lug back French delicacies from the supermarché, and is also designed to be big enough to hold a pair of ski boots as well as fit as carry-on luggage for the plane!


Educating the Brits – Plus front and centre of our stand this year was our Recycling in France infographic, to help UK and Irish tourists to clean up their recycling act while on holiday. There’s more about this initiative here.

Our recycling infographic taking pride of place


Our Petanque Piste at the Ski & Snowboard Show 2011

After 227 games over five days, with more than 2,000 boules thrown each day, the winner of the Ski & Snowboard Show Pentanque competition is…. Jason Khan!

Jason beat Bruce, our ski instructor and Petanque expert, by 7-1 – not an easy feat we can promise you! Jason wins a ski holiday to France with Pierre & Vacances and SeaFrance.

A limited edition Petanque set for each of our runners up!

The equally excellent runners up were Mickael Weiss, Robbie ONeill, Joe Stamutol and Chris Ody, and they will each receive a limited edition Pierre & Vacances Petanque set.

Runner up Joe Stamutol points to his place on the leaderboard

A big thank you to every one who came along and played, we had a really tight competition! And a massive merci to the fantastique Bruce who played all of the 227 games and was very tired by the end of the show!

Our Petanque expert Bruce playing against an eager contestant

If you fancy playing a spot of Petanque yourself, you can play individually or versus your friends with our online Petanque3D game, where there is also a chance to win a holiday!

But if you think you can do as well as Jason, we’ll next be pitching our boules down the Petanque Piste at the France Show – 13 – 15th January.



A French themed evening of Petanque with Pierre & Vacances

August 2, 2011 10:24 am
posted by Sarah

To celebrate all things French and take the opportunity to unwind with their travel industry colleagues and comrades, the Pierre & Vacances UK team set about hosting a Petanque Tournament on Brighton seafront last week, courtesy of the official Brighton & Hove Petanque Club.  With refreshments provided, a beautiful backdrop of Brighton Pier and prizes on offer, how could anyone resist?

With expectations of 90 or so guests, Elodie, the newest member to the Pierre & Vacances UK team (and our now resident Petanque party organising expert!), set about getting ready to feed the masses.  After much investigation of Brighton’s supermarkets Elodie sourced some of the best and most delicious French delights for our guests to enjoy while playing a spot of Petanque.

The Pierre & Vacances UK team in their French themed outfits!

For once the English weather did not let us down and with the sun high in the sky and not a cloud in sight, the Pierre & Vacances UK team served up quite a treat. From popular French cheese, bread and wine to the pièce de résistance – fresh “saucisson” direct from France, and close to the region where Elodie herself is from, the stunning Ardeche (special thanks goes to Elodie’s very kind Father for sending over the sausage).

After some practice rounds to hone petanque skills and eye up the competition the games began. And what a great turn out, soon enough 16 teams of 2 players were busy swinging their Petanque balls.

And with representatives from French Radio London, The Association of British Travel Organisers to France, Atout France, On Holiday Group, Take the Family, Student Travel Group, Erna Low and TUI Travel, hopes for an English vs French final were high.

With one knock out after another (and many wines later) the finalists, father and son duo Ossian and Fulvio from the Student Travel Group contingency, came tête-à-tête with Nick and Dave, from local web agency RedBedlam. And please note the lack of the French contingency in the final….

The final match saw Fulvio and Ossian storming out miles ahead with what looked to be an easy win, but not ones to give up without a fight Nick and Dave were hot on their tail.  The pairs battled it out while the rest of the party watched on in anticipation. Another 20 minutes later a beaming Ossian and Fulvio won the game 7-2, the prize: a Pierre & Vacances self-catering holiday of their choosing.

Our winners Fulvio and son Ossian!

Not ones to disappoint excellent competitors, Pierre & Vacances had a little treat in store for the runners up, and soon Nick and Dave were the proud owners of a delicately carved Pierre & Vacances branded Petanque set to practice with ready for next year’s re-match.

The winners then went on to take on the professionals from the Petanque Club but were not quite so successful – better luck next time boys!

A great night was had by all and we at Pierre & Vacances would like to thank everyone who came along and who took part in the Petanque tournament, we look forward to welcoming you back again next year! We’d also like to say an extra special thank you to SeaFrance for offering a return ferry crossing as part of the winner’s prize.

If you’d like to try the French game of Petanque yourself, have a go at our online 3D Petanque game!