A recreational area for an outdoor game that is popular in Europe has been added to the amenities at Palisades Park in Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica Community and Cultural Services Department has announced that new p/tanque, pronounced “pay-tonk,” courts have opened in Palisades Park.

The courts, located between the Senior Center, 1450 Ocean Ave., and the Santa Monica Pier, are free and open for public use on a drop-in basis during regular park hours from 5 a.m. to midnight.

The courts replace the old shuffleboard courts that had sat unused for years.

P/tanque has been a popular outdoor game in Europe for years, and is gaining in popularity worldwide, according to the Community and Cultural Services Department. An offshoot of both horseshoes and bocce, the game originated in the south of France in the early 1900s.

During the game, players toss or roll hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden target ball, called the “cochonnet.” Players take turns, and the team that ends up nearest to the target ball when all balls have been used, wins.

However, unlike horseshoes where the stake is fixed, the p/tanque target ball may be hit at any time, completely upsetting the score at the last second.

No special skills are required and people of all ages can play together.

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