The French are fluent in irony and absurdism. Unlike North Americans, they seem to be unable to goof around like kids—even when they are kids, even when they’re drunk!—and they just don’t do “nice,” polite humour. Gentle teasing is the norm, verbal ping-pong is appreciated, sharp and seemingly cruel comments are praised, and wit is a precious weapon in everyday life.

The French are not rude. It’s a cultural misunderstanding.

Go ahead, put on some perfume and a fake French accent, otherwise, you just won’t get this post (and life in France).

Now, I have to explain what a Breton bowl is. Bear with me, don’t scroll down yet, because I doubt you have this classic piece somewhere in your kitchen—Google Analytics warned me I have very few readers in Brittany, this peninsula stretching toward the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean where locals may or may not bask in their Celtic heritage, speak Breton for fun, and seek independence from France.

Anyway, the classic, rustic Breton bowl is a white clay bowl with a blue rim, two ears, and a handwritten first name. These bowls are made in Quimper or Pornic, close to Nantes. Around here, family members usually have their own bowl with their name on it—you can find all kinds of names these days, but when I was a kid, “Juliette” wasn’t exactly popular… I only got my own a few years ago.

These bowls are very versatile. They are perfect for a morning café au lait or chocolate chaud but I’ve seen them used as candleholders or ashtrays. Hell, my mum’s cat eats in a Breton bowl (not to his name, though).

Trust me, this lengthy introduction was crucial because I’m sure you’ve never heard of the Breton Games.

I mean, obviously not. There’s no such thing. Not officially, anyway.

Yet, the Breton Games were held in Nantes last weekend because, why not, and the most popular event was the basketbowl tournament.

Basketbowl.

This is not a typo.

See, now you get it, thank you for reading.

So, what’s basketbowl, exactly?

Well, it’s very similar to basketball, except a traditional Breton bowl is used instead of a ball.

And so, dozens of… ahem, athletes (i.e. anyone drunk enough to sign up) tried to score by throwing a Breton bowl through the netted hoop. The worst part is, they were actually good at it!

The referee was roasting every single participant. It was hilarious. “Coming from Nantes, she’s going to try to beat the world record held by Kazakhstan… and she failed miserably, which is why nobody is cheering. Next time, don’t bother. Next!”

Just glancing at the ever-growing pile of broken bowls (factory rejects in case you were wondering) was enough to make me crack up.

Welcome to French humour and Nantes!

Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
The very versatile traditional Breton bowl
The very versatile traditional Breton bowl
(Beer-fuelled) Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
(Beer-fuelled) Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Basket-Bowl at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Crêpes and galettes at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024
Crêpes and galettes at the Breton Games, Nantes, June 30, 2024

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2 Comments

  1. Martin Penwald July 5, 2024 at 5:07 pm

    Après ça, quel besoin y a-t-il de suivre les jeux olympiques ?

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 6, 2024 at 6:46 pm

      Malheureusement, encore une fois, le comité refuse l’inscription du basketbowl au JO…

      Reply

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