Jeu de mail

Jeu de mail, in Anglo-Saxon literature called ‘pall mall’, was a one target game, played with a wooden club with a cylindrical wooden head and a spherical wooden ball.


The game was originally played in the South of France and it is said that the game came into France from Italy around the 15th century.The essence of the game was to reach a target in the fewest number of strokes. It was an individual game, not a team game. In the South of France the game was played ‘à la chicane’, in the fosses, on the ramparts and on the sandy tracks around the towns. The game attracted the interest of kings and nobles, who played the game on specially laid out narrow playing alleys (boulevards) of up to a thousand meters in length in many French towns, soon followed by the main towns of Western Europe and of Britain. The ‘noble’ game ceased to be played by the end of the 18th century. The game à la chicane continued to be played in the South of France until 1939, when the last mail player in Montpellier stowed away his mail equipment in the attic of his house.



Published in

Jeu de mail à Orange

Geert & Sara Nijs

2017 March

Mail, a long and a short game

Geert & Sara Nijs

2015 August
From 'Games for Kins & Commoners', Part III, chapter 'Long and short games'
From Munro bagging to Mail bagging
A la recherche des anciens
courts de jeu du mail                  

Geert & Sara Nijs   
2013 October

Jeu de mail in Switzerland
Geert & Sara Nijs2013 From 'Games for Kings & Commoners',
Part II, to be issued in 2014
(Les Editions Choulla et Clava)
La Bernarde : boule de mail
pour s'assurer la victoire ?

2012 La France pittoresque, N° 41

The Royal and Ancient Game of Mail

Geert & Sara Nijs
2011 September
From 'Games for Kings & Commoners'
chapter 'Kings took to the links'

Mail too frivolous for women?

Geert & Sara Nijs
2011 September
From 'Games for Kings & Commoners',
chapter 'Clearly unsuitable for women'
Le Noble Jeu de Mail
de la ville de Montpellier

Philippe Estang

2009 February www.apgf.fr

Jeu de Mail Part 2

Henri Jakubowicz
2003 March Through The Green
(Magazine of the
British Golf Collectors Society)

Jeu de Mail Part 1

Henri Jakubowicz
2002 December Through The Green
(Magazine of the
British Golf Collectors Society)

The Sister of Golf
Andrew Lang1909 Octobre Article in Blackwood’s Magazine
Reprint in Golf Illustrated, Vol. 4,
Number 4, January 1916

Histoire du jeu de mail et du billard

L.E. Fournier

1889 Histoire des jouets et des jeux d'enfant
© Le Livre d'histoire-Lorisse
Paris 2002