Communal clapping

How the French view their weekly clap for carers

Once a week we break French emergency law and have a friend round for drinks on the terrace. The terrace overlooks the village rooftops as if it were a box at the theatre. Two weeks ago we were pleasantly lit up, when, at one minute to eight, the villagers below came out on to their terraces or stood at their windows and front doors to make a noise in support of the ‘essential’ workers: nurses, doctors, carers, postmen, shopkeepers, council workers, and so on. Some banged saucepans together or beat them with wooden spoons. Some blew horns of one kind or another, including what sounded to me like one of