When the dead-ball string is moved

Every petanque player knows the basic rule that a jack or a boule is dead if it completely crosses a dead-ball line. Almost always, the dead-ball line is a physical object— a string— that was installed on the playing area by authorized officials before the beginning of the competition. Determining whether a ball has completely crossed a dead-ball line therefore is a process of inspecting two physical objects—the ball and the string—and determining their spatial relationship.

There is something about this process that the FIPJP rules do not say, but that international umpire Mike Pegg has made clear in multiple answers on his “Ask the Umpire” Facebook forum— in order for this process to take place, the dead-ball string must be in its correct location.[1] The string’s correct location is the location where it was installed by authorized officials before the beginning of the competition.

Problems can arise if the string is not installed properly. Article 5 says that the string should be thin enough that it doesn’t affect the smooth running of the game, but in practice the diameter of the string is less important than the way it is installed. A string needs to be taut so it is straight, and it needs to be flush to the ground. If the surface of the terrain is irregular, with humps and bumps— hills and valleys, as it were—the string may stretch across low spots, suspended in mid-air like a bridge. In such cases, the string can be high enough above the ground to interfere with the movement of a rolling jack or boule. In this photo the string is far enough above the ground for the jack actually to be caught beneath it.

In such cases, a player can trip on the string, or a rolling boule or a player’s foot may catch the string and move it out of its correct location. And that’s when players start asking questions about what to do when the dead-ball string is moved.

There are two types of situations that raise questions.

  • Something pushes the string out of place. The string then snaps back to its correct location, pushing a boule or the jack back onto the terrain.
  • Something (typically a boule) pushes the string out of place… and the string remains stuck there, out of position.

Let’s look at some examples of the first type of situation. Something pushes the string out of place. The string then snaps back to its correct location, pushing a boule or the jack back onto the terrain.

A boule is moving toward the dead-ball line when it is caught by the boundary string. The string stretches and then, like a bowstring launching an arrow, pushes the boule back onto the terrain. In the scenario shown in the picture, did the ball cross the dead-ball line or not? What prevails— the string itself or the lane limit it represents? Is the boule dead or alive?

Here’s another example. This one involves the jack rather than a boule.

I was standing near the dead-ball line when my partner shot the jack. The jack flew toward me and in order not to stop it, I stepped back. My shoe caught the dead-ball string and pulled it back. The jack crossed the place where the string had been. When I lifted my foot, the string snapped back to its normal location, knocking the jack back in-bounds. Our opponents did not see this, and neither did the umpire. The umpire ruled that the jack was still good.

What these situations have in common is that the string was in motion throughout the incident. There was never a point in time when observers could visually compare the location of the ball to the location of the string in its correct location. Given that fact, all that players and umpires can do is to wait for everything to come to rest, and then compare the location of the ball to the location of the string. In both of these cases, the ball ends up inside the dead-ball string, so it is still alive.

Note that these situations are different from a situation in which a boule rolls across the string and then, because of a slope in the ground, rolls back in-bounds. In such a case, the string remains in its correct location. Observers can see the string and they can see the boule, and they can see that the boule completely crosses the string before rolling back in-bounds. The boule is dead.

In the second kind of situation, something pushes the string out of place, and the string remains stuck there, out of position.

In this photo we see that a boule has pushed the dead-ball string outward from its correct location. The jack is on the out-of-bounds side of the dead-ball string but still touching the string.

The question is—Is the jack dead?

The answer is— We don’t know. We can’t tell, because we can’t compare the location of the jack to the location of the string when the string is in its correct location.

The solution to the problem is to put the string back into its correct location.

Then we can make a decision based on the locations of the jack and the string.

We need to be extremely careful when moving the string back to its correct location. In this case, we can’t move the string without moving the boule, so we mark the boule’s location. We then very carefully remove the boule, allowing the string to move back to its correct location. Then we compare the location of the jack to the location of the string.

Judging from the photograph, we will probably find that the jack is out-of-bounds and dead. However, if we discover that the jack is alive we return the boule to its marked location and carry on with the game.

Now that we know how to handle such situations, we can see how a variation of one of our earlier situations should be handled. In this case, the string is moved but it isn’t allowed to snap back into place. It is held out-of-place by a player’s foot.

I was standing near the dead-ball line when my partner shot the jack. The jack flew toward me and in order not to stop it, I stepped back. My shoe caught the dead-ball string and pulled it back. The jack crossed the place where the string had been.
Surprised, I froze in position. When the umpire arrived, he held the string while I extricated my foot. Then he carefully lifted the string over the jack and returned the string to its normal location. At that point the jack was clearly out-of-bounds and the umpire ruled that the jack was dead.

Finally, in a situation where the string was so poorly installed, Mike Pegg points out that there is one more thing to be done.[2]

The umpire is not responsible for the string line being tight or fixed down, although before the games started the umpire should have checked that everything was in good order. As soon as the end in question is over, the umpire should arrange with the venue organisation to have the line re-tensioned or fixed down.


[1] See Mike Pegg’s reply to Rob Brealey (June 2, 2018) https://www.facebook.com/groups/128791213885003/permalink/1583415321755911/

Rob— What’s the ruling when team A is holding the point and team B shoot successfully but team A’s boule moves the dead ball line causing both boule to still be in?

Mike – I’m assuming the string is being prevented from returning to its correct position by one of the boules. In this case the string should be carefully moved to its correct position— without disturbing the boules— and then check to see if the boules have crossed the string. You should also fix the string so that it cannot be moved again.

See also Mike’s follow-up post https://www.facebook.com/groups/128791213885003/permalink/1584258958338214/

[T]he string line has to be in place to determine if the boule has fully crossed it….

[2] https://www.facebook.com/groups/128791213885003/posts/4553615681402512/


Time-limited games

[revised 2022-01-02]
All big competitions have the same problem. Even with a single-elimination format, many rounds of games must be played in order to reduce the field of competitors to the eight teams that will play in the quarter-finals. All of the games in a round must have finished before match-ups between the survivors can be arranged and the next round can begin. This means that if even one game in a round goes on for too long, the entire competition is brought to a halt, waiting for that game to finish. [But see the comment by Jac Verheul.]

The problem for big competitions, then, is to devise a way to play short-form games— games that can be played in a limited and predictable amount of time.

Short-form games

There are three ways that you can play a short-form game.

  • You can play to a winning score of less than 13.
  • You can limit the time allowed for the game.
  • You can limit the number of menes (ends) played.

In the last two cases, if the allotted amount of time or number of menes has completed and the score is tied, then an additional tie-breaker mene must be played to decide the winner.

Note that the idea of a tie-breaker mene isn’t as simple as it seems. Playing one additional mene can not guarantee that that the tie will be broken. In fact, it cannot guarantee that the game will ever finish. If the jack is shot out-of-bounds while both teams still have unplayed boules, the mene is scoreless— the tie remains unbroken and another mene must be played. In theory, it is possible for the two teams to play an infinite series of scoreless menes without breaking the tie.

In order to guarantee that a game will finish in a finite amount of time, it is necessary to invent the idea of (what I will call) a Guaranteed Tie-Breaker mene. This is a special kind of mene in which the jack is not allowed to go dead. If the jack is hit out-of-bounds, it is put back on the terrain and the game continues. (If it was marked, it is put back on the mark. Otherwise, it is put on the terrain near the spot where it crossed the dead-ball line.)

The competition organizer specifies the rules for short-form games

Short-form games are considered to be part of the way a competition is organized, so specifying the rules for short-form games is the responsibility of the competition organizer.

The CEP (Confédération Européenne de Pétanque) is the organizer of the Eurocup, and other competition organizers look to the Eurocup as a model for organizing their own competitions. The CEP’s choice for a short-form game is a time-limited format.

At first, when playing time-limited games, when the time-limit was announced (by a whistle, say), any mene in progress was played to its finish. At that point, if one of the teams was in the lead, then that team was the winner. If the score was tied, one additional tie-breaker mene was played. But there was a problem. As a game approached its time-limit, the team in the lead would often deliberately play slowly, “running out the clock” and limiting their opponents’ opportunities to score more points. The CEP apparently considered this tactic to be contrary to the spirit of the game. Mike Pegg reports

When timed games were first introduced, one more end was played after the whistle was blown. Teams would deliberately play slowly, taking a full minute etc., so that the opponent had no chance of winning or drawing with them. To prevent this sort of tactic, it was decided to allow for two extra ends.

In this new model, games are played to the normal winning score of 13. Any game that hasn’t finished when the time limit is reached, then switches to a limited-number of menes model. Basically, a “time-limited” game is a game in which reaching the time limit triggers a switch into a different mode of play.

  1. Games are played as they normally are. When one team achieves the winning score of 13, the game is declared to be finished and the team that achieved the winning score is declared the winner.
  2. For any game that is still in progress when the time-limit is reached, the teams finish playing the mene that is currently in progress. At that point, if neither team has achieved a winning score, the game switches to a limited-number of menes model in which the allowed number of menes is limited to two.

    Note that “the game is still in progress” means that neither team has reached the winning score (13 points) so the game has not yet finished.

    Note that any game that is still in progress, whether or not the score is tied, will go on to play two extra ends. The two extra ends, therefore, are not tie-breaker ends. They are meant to give the game a few more ends (rather than a little more time) in which to finish.
  3. If, after either of these two extra menes, one team achieves the winning score, the game is declared to be finished and the team that achieved the winning score is declared the winner.
  4. For any game that is still in progress after the two extra ends, if one team has a score that is higher than the other team’s score, the game is declared to be finished and the team with the higher score is declared the winner.
  5. For any game that is still in progress after the two extra ends, if the score is tied, the game plays a third, Guaranteed Tie-Breaker mene. After that mene, the game is declared to be finished and the team with the higher score is declared the winner.

Here’s how the CEP rules for timed, Swiss system games describe it.

[The time limit is 75 minutes for a triples game, 60 minutes for a doubles game, and 45 minutes for a singles game.]

[A]t the end of the time limit the current end should be completed plus two more ends. In the case of equal scores after the two additional ends, the teams will play one more end. During this extra end, the jack cannot become dead (out of play). If the jack goes out of the defined playing area it will be put back in its original position, or if that is not marked then in the nearest valid place to where it went out of play.

Here’s how the FIPJP competition rules for the world championships describe it, in Article 19 of Règlement des Championnats du Monde.

All games in the World Championships are played to 13 points, with the exception of games to which a time limit is applied. [For world championship games, the time limit is 75 minutes for a men’s triples game, 60 minutes for any other kind of triples game, 60 minutes for a doubles game, and 45 minutes for a singles game.] If neither team has reached 13 points before the end of the fixed time, it will be contested for up to two additional ends. In the event of a tie at the end of the extra ends there will be a final end in which the jack, if it can be moved, will never be dead.

A problem with the idea of a guaranteed tie-breaker

There is a problem with these rules for time-limited games. The “guaranteed” tie-breaker does not guarantee that the tie will be broken after the third mene. The fact that the jack cannot go dead does not mean that one team must score. There can be a null point at the end of the third mene (an equidistant boules situation, or an empty terrain situation), which means that neither team scores, and the two scores remain tied.

It may be argued that something that is so unlikely to happen is nothing to worry about. But as an ex-computer programmer, I know that if there is a loophole in a set of rules so that a problem CAN happen, it WILL happen. The only question is about how long it will be before it happens. This is true of computer programs, and it is true of the rules for time-limited games.

Some interesting, unintended consequences

In time-limited games, all boundary lines are dead-ball lines. Before 2020, that meant that a thrown jack had to be at least a meter (sometimes: at least half a meter) from a side dead-ball line. But in 2020 the rules changed. Now a jack can be thrown right next to a side dead-ball line. And that has introduced an interesting new tactic into time-limited games.

Now, at the start of an extra mene, it is common for a team with a higher score to throw the jack very close to the side string. And then, rather than pointing with their first boule, they shoot the jack out-of-bounds. This finishes the extra mene without changing the score and without affecting the team’s lead. With this tactic, a team that has a good shooter and is leading at the beginning of the first or second extra mene has virtually won the game.

The boule advantage – an important petanque concept

updated 2021-12-21

To understand petanque at the strategic level, you need to understand the concept of “the boule advantage”.

The basic idea is simple — the team with the most unplayed boules “has the boule advantage”. If your team has two unplayed boules, and my team has four, then my team has the boule advantage.

Digging a bit deeper

It is possible to provide a precise definition of the boule advantage.

If a team gains the point every time it throws, we will say that the team plays perfectly. (Note that it doesn’t make any difference how the team gains the point. They can out-point the opposition, or shoot away an opposition boule that is holding the point, or shoot the jack. The important thing is that they never require more than one throw to gain the point.)

At any point during a mene, a team has the boule advantage if, assuming that it plays perfectly from that point forward, that team will play the last boule in the mene.

At the start of a mene, the second team to play always has the boule advantage. You can often see this in world-championship games. Team A points the first boule, and Team B shoots it with their own first boule. Team A points their next boule and Team B shoots it with their next boule. Point. Shoot. Point. Shoot. The teams alternate gaining the point until Team A points their last boule. This leaves Team B to play the last boule of the mene. They shoot or point with their last boule and often win the mène.

In short, if you think of a mène as a conversation, then the team with the boule advantage is the team that gets to “have the last word” in that conversation.

Among world-class players, the “point, shoot, point, shoot” pattern is so predictable that often the best way to follow the game is to watch for cases in which a team fails to play perfectly and requires two or more throws to gain the point. The real drama in a world-championship game is in the shot that just barely misses, and the pointing throw that doesn’t quite gain the point. Such failures turn over the boule advantage to the opposing team.  At this level of play, losing the boule advantage can mean losing the mène.

To point? or to shoot? Some strategic considerations

Suppose that your team has two pointers and one shooter. The opponents throw the jack and point a very nice first boule… it is close to the jack and is going to be very hard to out-point. What do you do?

  • Should you ask your shooter to try to shoot it?
  • But… it is very early in the mene, and the opposing team still has five boules. Should you point, and save your shooter for an emergency?

This is petanque’s classic question — to point, or to shoot?  If you decide to point, you may end up with another classic situation— your team ends up throwing all of its boules, trying to out-point the opponents’ opening boule. After you’ve done it, you realize that you’ve lost the boule advantage big time. The opposing team still has five boules that it can play without fear of any response from your team. And you realize in retrospect that you should have used your shooter to try to shoot that opening boule.

If this happens to you, here’s how you should think about the situation.

  • Your team started with the boule advantage.  You might have kept the boule advantage if you had brought out your shooter and shot the opposing team’s opening boule. Even if it took your shooter more than one attempt, it would have been worth it to get rid of that dangerous opening boule.
  • In deciding not to shoot, you not only lost the advantage, you gave the advantage to your opponents, to the tune of five boules. With a boule advantage that big, they are almost certainly going to score several points and win the mene.

The moral of this story is that one of your highest priorities should be NOT to lose the boule advantage. And that can sometimes mean using your shooter very early in the mene.

The Forgotten Boule and the Boule Advantage

Suppose that there are a lot of boules on the ground. Your team has the point, so you ask the opponents if they have any unplayed boules. They look around and then say “No, we’re out”.  So you play your last boule.  As you’re walking to the head to count your points, one of the opposing players says “Ooops! I made a mistake. I still have one boule left!”  What should you do?

You can say “It was an honest mistake. Go ahead. Play your last boule.” But giving away your team’s boule advantage in this way would be a big mistake. With their last “forgotten” boule, your opponents can do all sorts of mischief and win the mene. So a good general rule is that a forgotten boule— even in friendly play— cannot be played. See our discussion of dealing with a forgotten boule.

What does “inside the circle” mean?

A regular question on petanque forums is: What does “inside the circle” mean? But you never see the question put that way. Instead, you see questions about what a player is or is not permitted to do while throwing.

  1. Can the toe of a player’s shoe be above the front of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle?
  2. Can the heel of a squat pointer’s shoe be above the back of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle?
  3. Can a squat pointer balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand?
  4. Can a squat pointer touch the ground inside the circle with a knee?

Article 6 (title: “Start of play and rules regarding the circle”) says—

The players’ feet must be entirely on the inside of the circle and not encroach on its perimeter …. No part of the body may touch the ground outside the circle.

This rule, at least with respect to our four questions, seems to me to be quite clear. Imagine that the inside edge of the circle projects an invisible wall upward into the sky, so that the player is in effect standing or squatting inside an invisible cylinder. Article 6 says, in effect, that (a) no part of the player’s feet may protrude out through that cylinder, and (b) no part of the player’s body may touch the ground outside that cylinder. (Note that this does allow a player’s arms, knees, and torso to extend outside of the cylinder during his backswing and throw. They will be outside of the cylinder, yes, but they will not be touching the ground outside of the cylinder.)

If you can visualize such a cylinder, it is easy to answer our four questions.

  1. Can the toe of a player’s shoe be above the front of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle? No. His toe (which is part of his foot) would be outside the cylinder.
  2. Can the heel of a squat pointer’s shoe be above the back of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle? No. His heel (which is part of his foot) would be outside the cylinder.
  3. Can a squat pointer balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand? Yes. His non-throwing hand would not be touching the ground outside the cylinder.
  4. Can a squat pointer touch the ground inside the circle with a knee? Yes … if he can do so while both feet are inside the cylinder and touching the ground!

These answers seem clear and easy. And everybody agrees on the first answer.
Surprisingly, there is disagreement about the other three.

New Zealand Petanque disagrees with answer #2. For many years the NZP rules interpretation guidelines have said

When crouching in the circle to play a boule/jack, the players heel can encroach over the inside edge of the circle, provided it does not touch the circle. If the player stands up and onto the circle before the boule/jack has touched the ground, they have stood on the perimeter of the circle, and not had both feet entirely inside the circle as required. A warning (yellow card) will be given.

International umpire Mike Pegg disagrees with answers #3 and #4. Mike’s answer, in both cases, is NO. Mike maintains that the only parts of the player’s body that may touch the ground are his/her feet.

This leaves umpires and players in a quandary — Should we follow what the written rules say? Or what Mike Pegg says? Or what the New Zealand umpires committee says? Or what seems sensible to us?

I vote for following the written rules. I admit that there are some situations where applying the rules as written can be difficult or unfair. But these situations aren’t among them. With respect to these four questions, the answers provided by the rules are clear and fair.

With respect to question #2, I can understand NZP’s position. As a practical matter, it can be difficult for an umpire to judge whether a squat pointer’s raised heel has encroached on the circle. So except for the most egregious cases an umpire will not, and should not, penalize a player.

With respect to questions #3 and #4, I think that we have to be careful not to read into the rules things that aren’t actually there. We know that players have a tendency to invent mythical rules. You can’t fill a hole with your hand. You can’t wear gloves while throwing a boule. I think that Mike’s position is a product of that tendency. A squat pointer can’t balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand, seems to me to be just another mythical rule. It has absolutely no basis in the written rules.

Mike’s position also seems to me somewhat contrary to the spirit of the game, which allows handicapped players quite a bit of latitude when it comes to standing inside the circle. A squat-pointing player is going to put a hand on the ground only if he absolutely must do so in order to maintain his balance. No completely able-bodied player is going to do it. It seems to me, therefore, that it is in keeping with the spirit of the game, as well as the letter of the law, to permit a squat-pointer to balance himself with a hand on the ground inside the circle.

 updated 2021-11-21

Is the Geologic red jack legal?

Is the Geologic “red jack” legal?

The short answer

The mid-length answer
Just as “leisure” boules are designed for social play (but aren’t permitted in competition play), so the red jack is designed for social play (but isn’t permitted in competition play).

The long answer
Let’s start with some information about the jack itself.

  • Decathlon was selling the red jack internationally as early as 2019, but it only appeared on the American Decathlon web store in the spring of 2021.
  • The distinctive feature of the red jack is that it is paramagnetic, that is, you can pick it up with a magnetic boule lifter.
  • Structurally, it is different from Obut’s “black jack”, which is made of hard epoxy resin mixed with iron filings. The Geologic red jack is made out of a different material (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and it has a solid iron core which gives it 50% of its total weight.
  • The red jack is 29.5mm in diameter and weighs 17g.
  • The Decathlon webpage for the red jack clearly states— Use restriction: This jack cannot be used in official competitions.

In the case of jacks, there is a difference between being “approved” and being “legal”.

  • There is an FIPJP document called Fabricants de Boules: Labels des Boules et Buts agréés en compétition. This document lists the models of boules and synthetic jacks that are “approved” for competition play. Being a competition boule means, basically, that the boule is one of the approved models listed in this document. Being a competition jack means that a synthetic jack is one of the approved models listed in this document.
  • The FIPJP international rules for the sport of petanque specifies size, weight, and composition requirements for jacks. A jack that meets those requirements is “legal” for use in an FIPJP-sanctioned competition. A jack that fails to meet those requirements may not be used in an FIPJP-sanctioned competition.

Both Obut’s black jack and Geologic’s red jack may be used in social play, but neither may be used in competition play. Obut’s black jack is not legal because it weighs more than the maximum weight allowed by the rules of the sport. The Geologic red jack isn’t on the list of officially approved competition synthetic jacks.

A few customers have complained (in customer reviews) that their magnetic boule lifters won’t pick up the red jack. A customer service rep has replied that “There is indeed a competitor’s boule lifter that doesn’t work very well with these jacks. We will fix that in a second version.” If this is something you experience, you can complain to Decathlon and get a refund. But my advice would be to get a better boule lifter or make your own.

Petanque rules quiz 001

Two players are playing singles.  In the middle of the second mène (end, round), the score is 1-0. This happens.
A) Is the jack dead or alive?
B) Assuming the jack is dead, which player plays the next boule? Why?
C) Assuming the jack is alive, which player plays the next boule? Why?

This one is just for fun. There are 5 questions; two points per question. Ten points wins you bragging rights. Entries will be judged on correctness, completeness, and clarity. Submit your answers in a comment. This post will be edited to provide the correct answers and name the winners.

Quiz closes midnight, Wednesday April 28, 2021. The quiz is now closed. But if you would like to challenge yourself, you’re still free to take it. The answers are available HERE.

Agreeing the points – a useful tip

Raymond Ager is living in France now, and (obviously!) has been playing a lot of pétanque. Recently he gave me a great tip that he’s picked up while playing there.

During the agreement of points, the team that lost the end removes what they consider are the opponent’s scoring boules.

That way it’s perfectly clear that the losing team accepts those boules as scoring boules.

What often happens is that the winning team is eager to claim their points. They walk to the head, say something like “well, 3 points for sure”, and immediately remove their supposedly-scoring boules before the opponents have a chance to verify and agree. That’s when the arguments begin— “But you only had 2”, etc. etc. That’s why this tip is so useful. It forestalls that kind of debate.

It’s so useful, in fact, that I think it should be expanded into a general “best practices” recommendation—

At the agreement of points, when it is clear which team is the losing team, the losing team should be in charge of the agreement of points. That is, the losing team should be responsible for removing boules that they agree are scoring boules, and then should be responsible for measuring other boules that need measuring.

This rule needs a snappy name to make it easier to remember and use. Perhaps (in the spirit of “Mugs away!”) something like “Mugs measure!”

Terminology – What is a mène (end, round)?

The basic subdivision of a game of petanque is a mène, pronounced like the English word “men”. Roughly speaking, a mène consists of three activities – placing the circle and throwing the jack, throwing the boules, and the agreement of points. A 1971 Canadian Petanque Federation rules booklet defines a mène this way–

When all of the players have played all of their boules, we say that they have played a mène. A game is composed of whatever number of mènes is necessary for one of the teams to score a winning number of points.

As a subdivision of a game, a mène is similar to an “end” in curling or lawn bowls (a traditional British boules-type game), a “frame” in American bowling, an “inning” in baseball, a “round” in boxing, or a “set” in tennis.

  • The English version of the FIPJP rules is a translation into British English, so it translates mène using the lawn bowls term “end“.
  • When Jean Bontemps made the first American English translation in the 1960s, he translated mène using the American baseball term “inning“.
  • American petanque players often refer to a mène as a “round“.
  • The most literal English translation of the ordinary French word mène is probably “direction“, as in “First we played in one direction, then we turned around and played in the other direction.”[1]

In my opinion, in the context of the rules of petanque, mène should be treated as a game-specific technical term and simply adopted, not translated. Every sport has its own specialized terminology for the subdivisions of a game. Tennis has sets, baseball has innings, boxing has rounds, basketball has quarters, bowling has frames. Why shouldn’t petanque have mènes? In English we can make one concession to English-language spelling conventions— we can omit the accent and write simply “mene“.

One of the frequently-asked questions about menes is “When does a mene start and end?” Another way of asking the same question is: “What kinds of events mark the start, and the finish, of a mene?” You can find the answer to that question HERE.


[1] The French word mène, when used as a verb, means to lead, to go to, to take to, to conduct.

Cette porte mène à la cave.
This door leads to the cellar.
This door goes to the cellar.
This door takes you to the cellar.

When mène is used as a noun— la mène— the most literal English translation is probably “a direction”, as in “This door is the way to the cellar. This door is the direction to the cellar.”