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
3:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

French Hostage Released After Being Held For 3 Years By Al-Qaida

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:38 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A French hostage returned to Paris today after being held for three years by al-Qaida in the Sahara. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports the man's release has revived questions about whether and how governments should deal with hostage takers.

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Goats and Soda
4:08 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

A Tale Of Dueling Ebola Songs: One From Britain, One From Africa

TK
Courtesy of Jean-Christophe Nougaret/MSF

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:34 am

In separate recording studios and separate songs, two groups of international stars have harnessed the power of their voices to help raise awareness of Ebola.

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Europe
4:05 am
Wed December 3, 2014

French Lawmakers Vote To Recognize Palestinian State

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 6:41 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Europe
4:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Santa's Black-Faced Helpers Are Under Fire In The Netherlands

People line the road to greet Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, and his "Swarte Piet" (Black Pete) sidekicks in Amsterdam on Nov. 17, 2013. In the past few years, Black Pete has come under fire. Some say it's a beloved tradition that should remain; others say it is a racist stereotype.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 5:49 pm

For an American, watching a Sinterklaas parade, like the one I recently went to in Amsterdam, can be a bit of a shock. Because dancing around the dear old Dutch Santa are his helpers, known as Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete.

And Black Pete is played by scores of white people dressed up in black face ... and wearing Afro wigs.

In the past few years, Black Pete has come under fire. A beloved tradition for some, others say he is a racist stereotype. And the increasingly rancorous debate over Black Pete has gripped the Netherlands.

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Book News & Features
3:44 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

A French Best-Seller's Radical Argument: Vichy Regime Wasn't All Bad

Philippe Petain, head of the French World War II collaborationist government in Vichy, greets French prisoners arriving from Germany in 1941.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 9:23 am

On a recent night in France, conservative journalist Eric Zemmour, author of Le Suicide Francais (French Suicide), was under attack on a talk show — again. The debate over Zemmour's book has monopolized conversation on the airwaves and in cafes.

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Parallels
4:20 am
Sun October 26, 2014

Stranded In France, Migrants Believe Britain Is The Answer

French riot policemen force out migrants who were hidden in a truck that was making its way to the ferry terminal in Calais in western France on Wednesday. The cross-Channel port has become the last barrier for economic and political migrants trying to enter Britain illegally.
Pascal Rossignol Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 3:38 pm

Once known for lace-making, tourism, and being the closest French port to England, Calais has now come to represent a focal point of illegal immigration.

Hundreds of migrants roam the town by day. At night they sleep in squalid tent cities, their clothing hanging on fences and from the trees. The migrants have fled war, poverty and dictatorship, in places like Eritrea, Afghanistan and Sudan. They've traveled over desert and sea, on journeys that often take years.

Now, they're trying to get the last 30 miles to England.

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Parallels
2:39 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Egality N'est Pas La Réalité: French Women Wage Online War On Sexism

Caroline De Haas, 34, launched Macholand.fr after a company responded dismissively to her complaint against its sexist advertising.
Courtesy of EGAE

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 5:39 pm

Caroline De Haas has had enough. The French feminist, 34, became so fed up with sexism in the country that she's launched a website to fight it.

Tapping on her keyboard, De Haas brings up the new site, Macholand.fr. On the screen are several "actions" targeted at sexist politicians or advertisers who have crossed the line.

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Parallels
8:04 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Reporter's Notebook: In Eastern Ukraine, A Bellicose Mood Prevails

A teacher spreads a plastic sheet to prevent rain from further damaging the shelled top floor of Gymnasium 33, a high school in Donetsk. The school was hit by Ukrainian shelling on Aug. 27. Many schools are unable to accommodate students due to damaged facilities and unpaid teachers.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 9:06 am

During my recent reporting trip to cover the Ukrainian conflict in the eastern city of Donetsk, I stayed at one of the city's last functioning hotels. It also happens to be the unofficial separatist headquarters, affording me a close-up glimpse of the leaders of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic.

This is the name the separatists have given to this part of eastern Ukraine they want to become independent.

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World
5:28 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

Tensions In Ukraine Increase As Cease-Fire Appears To Have Dissolved

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 5:41 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
12:42 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

After A Tumultuous Summer, Ukrainian Kids Return To School

Many students at Kiev's Lyceum for the Humanities have relatives in Russia or parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by separatists. The conflict has divided families and caused many problems, they say, but it has also strengthened their sense of Ukraine's identity.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 5:53 pm

Music resounds through the hallways to signal the end of class at Kiev's Lyceum for the Humanities, one of the Ukrainian capital's top public high schools.

Lively students dressed in dark blue school uniforms pour into the stairwells as they make their way to the next class. Once they're seated at their desks, their teacher explains that today a foreign journalist has come to meet them.

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Europe
6:52 am
Sun September 7, 2014

In Kiev, A New Patriotism Cemented In Russia's Shadow

Sergei Kozak, a soldier injured in the last cease-fire, says it is up to Russian whether or not the current cease-fire holds.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:51 am

A cease-fire in eastern Ukraine appears to be collapsing, with both the Ukrainian government and separatist forces accusing each other of violating it. That won't come as a surprise to the people of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, who are deeply skeptical.

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Europe
3:08 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Ukraine Cease-Fire Brings End To 5 Months Of Violence

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 7:39 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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World
10:34 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Ukraine Says It Reached A Cease-Fire Deal With Separatists

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 11:17 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
2:36 am
Mon August 11, 2014

What Makes A Nation Happy?

The French have six weeks of vacation, free universities, top notch public transport and arguably the world's best health care system. Yet in poll after poll the French rank quite high in unhappiness.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 8:42 am

In Paris, pleasure boats ply the Seine River as people stroll along its banks on a summer day. The French have six weeks of vacation, free universities, top-notch public transport and arguably the world's best health care system. So who could be unhappy here? Yet in poll after poll, the French rank as some of the biggest malcontents in the Western world.

Parisian Bruno Fontaine is relaxing by the edge of the river. He says his countrymen don't realize how good they have it. But as world travelers, he says he and his wife do.

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Europe
3:15 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

In France, The Seeds Of A Hatred Renewed

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 5:57 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Parallels
5:15 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

France Presses On With Deal To Sell Two Warships To Russia

People holding Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags demonstrate in front of the French-built Vladivostok warship in St. Nazaire, western France, on June 1. The protesters are opposed to the sale of the Vladivostok and Sevastopol warships to Russia.
Jean-Sebastien Evrard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

France plans to go ahead with the sale of two warships to the Kremlin, even as the European Union and U.S. strengthen sanctions on Russia amid continued fighting in Ukraine and the aftermath of the downed Malaysian airliner.

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Parallels
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Rabbi Michel Serfaty (right), head of the Jewish-Muslim Alliance of France, stands next to a Muslim cleric, or imam, as they both hold signs wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan. The rabbi and the imam have also traded hats. Despite efforts by Serfaty's group, a record number of French Jews are expected to move to Israel this year.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 9:53 am

Jews are leaving France and moving to Israel in unprecedented numbers this year.

With the departures expected to surpass 5,000, France could pull ahead of the U.S. for Jewish emigration to Israel, known as aliya. Usually, making aliya is a cause for celebration. But in France this year, it's tinged with bitterness.

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Theater
4:08 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

This Year, Avignon Festival Is A Stage For Both Plays And Protest

Dutch actors perform during a dress rehearsal of the show HUIS at the 68th Avignon Theater Festival in France. The festival has been international since 1966 and today French performances make up only 20 percent of all acts.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 5:35 pm

Every July, for one month a year, the southern French city of Avignon becomes a theater. Actors, directors and playwrights converge on the walled, medieval town, where thespians perform in every playhouse, opera house, church and even in the streets. It's all part of the Avignon Theater Festival, which was started in 1947 by renowned French actor and director Jean Vilar.

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The Salt
12:54 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy

A new logo that is supposed to ensure a Paris restaurant's food is homemade (fait maison in French) is already stirring up controversy.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:04 pm

If you go to France this summer, you might notice a new logo in restaurant windows or on menus. It's a simple graphic of a rooftop covering a saucepan, and it's supposed to designate fait maison, or homemade. It's designed to highlight places that make their own dishes rather than bringing in frozen or sous vide — prepared meals cooked in a water bath, sealed in airtight plastic bags and designed to be heated up later.

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Sports
9:41 am
Sat July 5, 2014

A Cleaner Tour De France Kicks Off With A Nod To WWI

Sprinters Mark Cavendish of Britain (second left) and Germany's Andre Greipel, (right) shake hands as Britain's Christopher Froome (second right) and Spain's Alberto Contador (left) wait for the start of the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.
Christophe Ena AP

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 12:08 pm

Last year, the Tour de France celebrated its 100th anniversary with a spectacular sound and light show at the Arc de Triomphe during the closing ceremony.

It might be hard to duplicate that kind of enthusiasm at this year's Tour, which begins Saturday, especially with competition from the World Cup in Brazil. But the 2014 Tour will be special too, says Matthieu Barberousse, a journalist with L'Equipe sports newspaper.

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Europe
12:13 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

In Paris, Training Wheels For The Littlest Riders

Not quite 3 years old, Oscar Bayeda is just learning to ride with the help of P'tit Velib's bike-sharing program for children.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 2:58 pm

A bike rental scheme in Paris that began seven years ago has been such a success, the city has launched a version for children. Parents can now rent bikes for tots up to 8 years old at locations across the city.

Officials say the program won't cost Paris a cent and might help build a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens — or perhaps inspire a few future Tour de France champions.

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Parallels
1:42 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Brutal Vigilante Attack On Roma Teen Shocks France

Women from the Roma community push a shopping trolley containing water toward their camp in Sucy-en-Brie, near Paris, in a photo from 2012.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 6:12 pm

A vigilante attack against a Roma teenager has shocked France and put pressure on the French government to improve conditions for the ethnic minority. Human rights advocates say the rise of a xenophobic climate in the country may have contributed to the attack.

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Europe
9:59 am
Sun June 8, 2014

One Frenchman's Commitment To Keeping D-Day Memories Alive

Frenchman Joseph Dellecolle, (left) 63, and his son Pierre-Yves, 40, dressed in American uniforms and drove a 1940s American military jeep to attend the D-Day commemoration on the beaches of Normandy. The elder Dellecolle says he attends every year and cries when he thinks of the many sacrifices made to liberate Europe.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 7:18 pm

During my many visits to Normandy, I have come across many French people committed to preserving the memory of the young men who sacrificed their lives here to liberate the continent from Nazi tyranny. On my latest, trip, I met up again with Joseph Delecolle, who I had interviewed at the 60th D-Day anniversary in 2004.

Delecolle was back, dressed as before in the uniform of an American GI and driving his rebuilt, 1940s-era American jeep.

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News
3:13 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Allies Land Again In Normandy, This Time To Honor D-Day Vets

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 2:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Europe
5:25 am
Thu June 5, 2014

70 Years On, A Normandy Village Honors Aging WWII Veterans

U.S. World War II veteran Arden C. Earll, 89, of Erie, Pa., landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, with the 29th Infantry Division. A crowd applauds as he arrives at a ceremony in honor of the division Wednesday in La Cambe, France, as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 11:40 am

Germaine and Lucien Rigault, 86 and 89 years old, respectively, lean out their first-floor window, watching people go by. They were here in the tiny French hamlet of La Cambe on June 6, 1944, the day the Allies invaded Normandy and began the liberation of France and Europe from Nazi control during World War II.

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Europe
6:46 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Le Pen Victory In France Presents A Paradox For Hollande

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 11:47 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Far-right political parties won big in European parliamentary elections in many countries last weekend. Their victory was particularly painful in France, a founding member of the European Union, and has deepened the sense of crisis for the very unpopular Socialist president, Francois Hollande. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

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Europe
5:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Europe Steps Up Attacks Against Google

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Europe, Google is under increasing attack. A consortium of European digital companies has brought charges against the American Internet search giant for behaving like a monopoly. A ruling by the European Court of Justice could force Google to remove certain Web links from its search engine.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report from Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (French spoken)

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Parallels
2:05 am
Tue May 13, 2014

The French Ask: Should We Be Building Warships For Russia?

The Vladivostok warship, a Mistral class LHD amphibious vessel ordered by Russia, at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on Friday. The Vladivostok is one of two ships Russia ordered from France.
Jean-Sebastien Evrard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 8:57 am

French President Francois Hollande says that for now, France intends to go through with a deal to build two warships for the Russian navy. The first of the Mistral-class assault vessels is supposed to be delivered in October.

The $1.6 billion deal is the biggest sale to Russia ever by a NATO country. And three years ago, when the contract was signed, French officials hailed it as a sign that Moscow should be considered a partner, not an enemy. Still, there were critics among NATO allies even then.

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Europe
4:02 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

France's Far-Right's High Hopes On May Day Display

Hundreds of supporters of France's far-right National Front political party attend the party's annual May Day rally in front of the Paris Opera on Thursday.
Charles Platiau Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:32 pm

Decked out in red, white and blue clothing, and waving flags and banners, thousands of supporters of the far-right National Front party marched through central Paris on Thursday — known as May Day or International Workers Day — to hear charismatic leader Marine Le Pen. The traditional gathering began, as always, at a gilded statue of Joan of Arc, where Le Pen laid a wreath.

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Europe
5:08 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

In The City Of Love, There's No Love Lost For Tourists' Love Locks

Couples stand on the Pont des Arts, Paris' iconic footbridge over the Seine river, where thousands upon thousands of padlocks bearing love messages are attached to the railing, on Aug. 30, 2013.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 6:40 pm

Bearing messages ranging from the inspiring to the insipid, "love locks" can be found clamped onto bridges in major cities around the world. But no place has it worse than Paris, where the padlocks cover old bridges in a kind of urban barnacle, climbing up every free surface.

Take the Pont des Arts, Paris' most famous footbridge across the Seine river. Hundreds of thousands of padlocks cover its old iron railings; the light of day barely passes through them.

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