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Why axe throwing is taking France by storm

PUBLISHED: 11:00 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:34 28 November 2018

Stress-busting, fun and different - why urban axe throwing is on the rise. Pic: Flickr/Tibor Kovacs/CC BY 2.0

Stress-busting, fun and different - why urban axe throwing is on the rise. Pic: Flickr/Tibor Kovacs/CC BY 2.0

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Lancer de Hache is one of France’s fastest-growing activities, with new centres popping-up all over the country – here’s why it’s so popular.

Lumberjacks have competed in axe throwing contests for many years but the indoor concept is new to France. Pic: Wikimedia Commons/Wknight94/CC BY-SA 3.0Lumberjacks have competed in axe throwing contests for many years but the indoor concept is new to France. Pic: Wikimedia Commons/Wknight94/CC BY-SA 3.0

A stress-busting activity perfect for anyone who has an axe to grind, is rapidly growing in popularity across France.

Lancer de Hache – or axe throwing – has its roots in North America where it was a traditional sport in lumberjack competitions, particularly across Canada.

The concept has been transported across the pond and moved from outdoors to in, with groups and individuals queuing up to give the exciting activity a try.

Would-be woodsmen and women can hurl the axe at a target, with points awarded for accuracy – think darts but with a much larger and more dangerous projectile. Hitting the bullseye earns the most points and finding the outer rings with the blade will also see you add to your tally, as well as pick-up a few admiring glances.

Lancer de Hache is growing in popularity in France. Pic: Flickr/Tibor Kovacs/CC BY 2.0Lancer de Hache is growing in popularity in France. Pic: Flickr/Tibor Kovacs/CC BY 2.0

Its popularity has grown due to the cathartic and fun nature of the activity, which offers something different for friends or couples to do in the evening – a more energetic alternative to bowling or the cinema perhaps.

Lancer de Hache is also a popular choice for birthday celebrations and is often used by businesses as a team-building event or work social.

Safety is a top priority and anyone taking part will have to go through a thorough briefing and be taught how to throw the axe before they head to the caged lanes to see if their aim is true.

The axes aren’t heavy in order to make the activity as inclusive as possible and ensure it is more about skill than brute force. Unsurprisingly, there is a total ban on alcohol in order to avoid any unfortunate axe-cidents.

Although venues hosting this activity are still few and far between, the list of locations is definitely on the rise, with urban lumberjacks able to practice their throwing in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Rennes.

In Lyon’s axe-throwing centre, the price of a cible is €50 for the maximum of three players allowed to use one target. The safety talk, training and throwing is all done within the space of about an hour.

Rue Stephenson, in the 18th arrondissement, near Gare du Nord, is the place to go if you are swinging by Paris anytime soon.

With many more venues across France set to open their doors soon, you won’t be short of places to bury the hatchet.

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