Eleanor Beardsley

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in June 2004, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy.

Beardsley has covered both 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections as well as the Arab Spring in Tunisia, where she witnessed the overthrow of the autocratic President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. She reported on the riots in French suburbs in 2005 and the massive student demonstrations in 2006. Beardsley has followed the Tour de France cycling race and been back to her old stomping ground — Kosovo — to report for NPR on three separate occasions.

Prior to moving to Paris, Beardsley worked for three years with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. She also worked as a television producer for French broadcaster TF1 in Washington, DC and as a staff assistant to Senator Strom Thurmond.

Reporting from France for Beardsley is the fulfillment of a lifelong passion for the French language and culture. At the age of 10 she began learning French by reading the Asterix The Gaul comic book series with her father.

While she came to the field of radio journalism relatively late in her career, Beardsley says her varied background, studies and travels prepared her for the job as well as any journalism school. "I love reporting on the French because there are so many stereotypes about them that exist in America," she says. "Sometimes it's fun to dispel the false notions and show a different side of the French. And sometimes the old stereotypes do hold up. But whether Americans love or hate France and the French, they're always interested!"

A native of South Carolina, Beardsley has a Bachelor of Arts in European history and French from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and a Masters Degree in International Business from the University of South Carolina.

Beardsley is interested in politics, travel and observing foreign cultures. Her favorite cities are Paris and Istanbul.

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Europe
4:38 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 1:39 pm

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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Education
5:14 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 6:39 pm

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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Europe
4:43 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Glitzy Burgundy Wine Auction Taps Celebrities

France's former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, auctioneer Francois de Ricqles and former soccer coach Guy Roux preside over the 152nd Hospices de Beaune wine auction Sunday in Beaune, France. The charity auction raised an all-time high of $7.5 million, which goes to area hospitals.
Tardivon Jean-Christophe Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 1:09 pm

For the last century and a half, the wine season in France's grape-growing region of Burgundy has revolved around one major commercial event. On the third Sunday in November, hundreds of barrels of the recent harvest are sold to the highest bidder in a charity wine auction. The historic event, which took place this year on Nov. 18, has evolved into an A-list rendezvous for the power players in the international wine industry.

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Europe
2:36 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Burgundy's Yield Fails To Meet Grape Expectations

Workers pick fruit Sept. 22 during the grape harvest at the Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard in France's Burgundy region. Bad weather has reduced the grape yield by as much as 70 percent in some vineyards.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 4:09 pm

Neat rows of grapevines run down the slopes of the Cotes de Beaune, all the way to the gravel driveway at Chateau de Corton Andre. The castle's traditional Burgundy black-and-yellow-tiled roof glistens in the autumn sun.

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All Tech Considered
4:34 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

European Union Protests Google's New Privacy Policy

In this photo illustration, the Google logo is seen through a pair of glasses in Glasgow, Scotland. The European Union says a change in Google's privacy policy is a breach of European privacy law.
Jeff J. Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:53 pm

Parisian dance professor Charlotte King says she needs Google for her job and life, but she doesn't trust the world's top Web search engine.

"When I'm doing some research, the day after I have some proposition of products, of stores, of places, and it's really espionage. I was spied on. I don't want that. It's unacceptable," King says.

That viewpoint resonates in Europe. The European Union says a recent change in Google's privacy policy that allows it to combine and share data collected from all of its different services is a breach of European privacy law.

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Europe
4:51 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

With Topless Protests, 'Sextremists' March In Paris

French policemen on Oct. 15 detain topless activists from the group Femen who are protesting the verdict in a gang rape trial. The group was established in Ukraine but is now setting up an office in Paris.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 6:12 pm

Sometimes, less is more.

That's certainly the thinking of the Ukrainian feminist movement Femen, best known for its bare-breasted protests in its home country. Now it has brought its self-described "sextremism" to Paris, opening its first international training camp and wasting no time attracting new recruits, causes and attention.

On a recent sunny morning, seven young women stride purposefully toward the stone facade of France's Justice Ministry. Suddenly they throw their coats to the ground. Slogans are painted across their bare bosoms; garlands decorate their hair.

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The Salt
2:03 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Urban Parisian Vines Produce Wine With A Drop Of History

Crowds watch as Clos Montmartre's grapes are harvested during its annual October wine festival.
Jacque Brinon AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 9:45 am

In America, vineyards are usually tucked in out-of-the-way rural areas, among country lanes. But in France, where great wine is a way of life, vineyards are everywhere — even in the middle of the country's biggest city.

High on the hills of the neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris is Clos Montmartre, the city's last working vineyard.

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World
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

New French President Sees Popularity Crash

Just a few months ago, supporters rallied in the streets for the election of Francois Hollande. Now, some of the same people are protesting against the French president. Leftist parties and unions organized this anti-austerity protest in September.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 4:47 pm

Just five months after electing President Francois Hollande, many French are now despairing that he cannot deliver on the vision they voted for. What's worse, some wonder if Hollande has a plan at all.

The new president's ratings have plummeted, and his once-lauded "steady approach" is now perceived as dithering.

Protesters shouting "Resistance!" in the streets of Paris this month included people who voted for him and now feel betrayed. They were demonstrating against the European fiscal treaty, approved this week by the Socialist-dominated French parliament.

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The Salt
5:37 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Bouillabaisse: From Humble Beginnings To High-Class Tourist Meal

The ingredients for a vrai bouillaibaisse at Le Miramar in Marseille, France.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 2:17 pm

The southern French city of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea has long been famous for its spicy fish soup, known as bouillabaisse. The soup started as a poor man's meal, made with leftover fish scraps, but these days, it's evolved to the point that it can run connoisseurs about $75 for a generously sized meal.

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Africa
2:28 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Tunisians Battle Over The Meaning Of Free Expression

Tunisian artist Nadia Jelassi with two of the sculptures from her exhibit that were attacked by a hard-line Muslim group. Secular Tunisians and Islamists have clashed over multiple issues related to freedom of expression.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 9:14 pm

Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring last year, and many regard it as the most Western-looking nation in the Arab world. Yet it's also waging a roaring debate over how to define freedom of expression in an evolving society.

Tunisian protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy recently in response to the anti-Muslim video Innocence of Muslims. This was just the latest of several episodes in which hard-line Muslims have acted out publicly to what they see as attacks on their religion.

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Europe
3:17 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Poverty, Segregation Fuel Marseille Crime Wave

Police climb the stairs in a building on the north side of Marseille, southern France, as part of an operation in January against drug dealing and gun proliferation.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 4:51 pm

Drug and gang violence in Marseille, France's second largest city, has gotten so out of control that one local politician has called for the army to be sent in to restore order.

The proposal shocked the French and President Francois Hollande. Now, the French government is making the city a top priority.

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Europe
7:16 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Violence Seizes French Port City

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Europe
5:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists

Many Copenhagen residents already travel by bike, and now the city is building high-speed routes designed to encourage commuters even in the outlying suburbs.
Slim Allagui AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 9:17 pm

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.

So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.

Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.

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Europe
5:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

France To Hollande: Time To Get To Work

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 2:03 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The president of France, Francois Hollande, has just passed 100 days in office. Mr. Hollande swept to victory in a wave of discontent aimed at former President Nicolas Sarkozy. But now, there are concerns that the new president's slow, cautious manner may not be suited to solving some of the challenges facing his country. Eleanor Beardsley sends us this report from Paris.

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Europe
12:50 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

On Denmark's Summer Nights, Tivoli Gardens Beckon

Tivoli Gardens is part Disney, part state fair. Walt Disney was a visitor and give it rave reviews. Many Danes first come as children and return as adults.
Courtesy of Tivoli

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 3:17 pm

Maybe it's because there are so few of them, but there is something special about a Scandinavian summer night. And there is no better place to spend one than at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens amusement park.

Long before there was Disney, there was Tivoli, the second-oldest amusement park in the world. (The oldest, Dyrehavsbakken, or Deer Park Hill, is also in Denmark.) For nearly 170 years, people have been enjoying the magic of a summer night here.

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Europe
4:39 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Norway To Issue Report On 2011 Shooting Rampage

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 6:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
3:04 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Outsourced Croissants Outrage Traditional French Bakers

A woman walks into Boulangerie Cauvet in Paris, where they still make croissants from scratch.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:07 am

There's always a line at the Boulangerie Cauvet on the corner of rue St. Charles in Paris's 15th district. In their family owned bakery, Esmeralda Cauvet and her husband Cyril sell around 800 croissants and 3,500 baguettes a day.

In the kitchen, head pastry maker Pierre Gibert still rolls his croissants from triangular strips of dough. "The key to a good croissant is good ingredients and a high quality dough. You have to knead it, let it rise and roll it a second time in butter. That's what gives a croissant its flaky quality," Gibert says.

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World
4:49 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Vive La France ... And Its High Taxes On The Wealthy

A French military brass band parades on the Champs-Elysee during a rehearsal as part of the Bastille Day celebrations, which take place Saturday.
Loic Venance AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 3:54 pm

As the French people celebrate their revolution on Saturday, Bastille Day, the founding principles — liberte, egalite and fraternite — seem to be alive and well.

New President Francois Hollande embraced equality on the campaign trail this spring. To reduce the French deficit, he proposed raising taxes on large corporations and the super-rich. The move helped his campaign take off, says Gerald Andrieu, a political journalist with Marianne magazine.

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Europe
1:23 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

In France, The (Abandoned) Dog Days Of Summer

Dogs wait to be adopted at the Animals Without Home shelter south of Paris in Montgeron, France, in August 2010. France is among the European countries with the highest number of abandoned pets during the summer months, when people take long vacations.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

For Europeans, it's not uncommon to take a whole month of vacation in the summer. But the season can be a deadly time for the many pets left behind — permanently.

The abandonment of domestic animals by vacationers is a scourge in many countries across Europe. And in France, this summer isn't likely to be different despite campaigns by animal-rights groups against the practice.

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Europe
6:55 am
Sun July 1, 2012

'There Is No Austerity In Fashion,' Or In Paris

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So much of the news out of Europe these days is about debt and countries struggling to pay their bills. Well, there is a bit of calm in that storm, and, of course, it's in Paris. There's no Greek-style austerity in France. And as Eleanor Beardsley tells us, in the City of Light, people are still enjoying the good life.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Europe
6:29 am
Sat June 30, 2012

French President Inserts New Voice In EU Summit

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 6:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Movies
11:03 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

In France, A Star Rises From An Oft-Neglected Place

Omar Sy plays Driss in the hit French film The Intouchables. The feel-good movie won numerous awards in France, but has met with a mixed reaction in the U.S.
Thierry Valletoux Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 11:34 am

Frenchman Jean Dujardin may have won this year's Academy Award for best actor for his role in The Artist, but in France he was beat out for the country's most prestigious acting award, the Cesar, by a new acting sensation: The 34-year-old son of African immigrants, Omar Sy.

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Europe
6:28 am
Sun June 17, 2012

France's New Leader Negotiates To Keep Promises

Originally published on Sun June 17, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There is another important vote taking place in Europe today. The French go to the polls and they're expected to give a clear parliamentary majority to the new socialist president, Francois Hollande. There are high expectations for Hollande in both France and throughout Europe. And he may soon have carte blanche to implement his policies.

But as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, it won't be easy.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN TALKING)

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Europe
3:49 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

French First Lady Sets Country A-Twitter

French President Francois Hollande's companion, Valerie Trierweiler (left), has sparked a political uproar in France, with a tweet in support of a candidate running against Segolene Royal (right), Hollande's former partner and the mother of his four children.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 7:16 pm

Europe may be in major financial and political turmoil, but in France, it's a tweet that has the country in an uproar.

The political storm erupted Tuesday when first lady Valerie Trierweiler tweeted her support for a candidate running in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

That may sound harmless, but the candidate she encouraged is running to unseat prominent politician Segolene Royal, the former partner of President Francois Hollande and the mother of his four children.

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Africa
4:18 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Moderates Worry Tunisia Is Becoming More Conservative

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 5:16 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep on the Revolutionary Road, traveling through nations of the Arab Spring, from Carthage to Cairo.

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Africa
1:48 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Some Taboos Vanish In Tunisia, Replaced By Others

Since the revolution last year, Tunisians have had greater freedom to express their opinions on political and social issues. But the rise of Islamist groups has made religion a more sensitive topic. Here, two men chat at a cafe in the capital Tunis.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 1:49 am

Over the next couple weeks, NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep will be taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves as they write new social rules, rebuild their economies and establish new political systems. Steve and his team will be traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia's ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt's megacity of Cairo.

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Europe
3:08 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Who Needs Marriage? Not France's New President

French President-elect Francois Hollande waves to supporters with his companion, Valerie Trierweiler, as he celebrates his election victory in Bastille Square in Paris, May 6. Hollande and Trierweiler will be the first unmarried couple to move into the French presidential palace.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 1:42 am

The French are known for being more tolerant than Americans about their politicians' private lives. One former French president even fathered a child with a mistress while in office.

But every French leader in history has been married — until now.

Next week, after Socialist Francois Hollande is sworn into office, he and his longtime companion, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, will become the first unmarried couple to move into the Elysee presidential palace.

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NPR Story
4:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

What Hollande's Anti-Austerity Rhetoric Means

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 6:41 am

Socialist Francois Hollande won the French presidency over the weekend, in large part due to his pledge to push for growth and battle the German-led austerity approach to Europe's fiscal problems. But what does that pledge mean in practical terms?

Europe
5:09 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Hollande Wins French Presidential Election

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 5:34 am

In France Sunday, Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande has railed against austerity measures and urged national unity.

Europe
4:06 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Will French Election Mark A Reversal Of Austerity?

Tens of thousands of people in Paris used the annual May Day workers' events this year to denounce the world of finance amid the Europe-wide debt crisis. If elected, France's Socialist presidential challenger, Francois Hollande, says he will pursue a growth-oriented strategy.
Guillaume Baptiste AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:43 am

The possibility that French President Nicolas Sarkozy may lose the presidential election Sunday is making waves across Europe. Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the architects of Europe's new fiscal austerity pact.

But the man likely to replace Sarkozy has other ideas.

Socialist candidate Francois Hollande — who is favored in opinion polls by several percentage points — says Europe cannot emerge from the crisis based on austerity alone.

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