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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2:08pm

Fri April 20, 2012
Europe

In France, Fiery Leftist Candidate Strikes A Nerve

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:06 pm

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Front presidential candidate, draws huge crowds, rivaling those of mainstream candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. Here, he delivers a speech during a campaign meeting on April 1 in Grigny, outside Paris.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

5:02am

Wed April 18, 2012
Europe

French Village Takes Stock Of Election Issues

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 7:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

An outsized figure on the world's stage is fighting to keep his job. Nicolas Sarkozy has made headlines pressing for intervention in Libya, travelling abroad with his supermodel second wife Carla Bruni, pressing to free up France's economy and struggling with Europe's debt crisis. Now, with an election approaching, the French president is trailing in opinion polls against his main rival, the socialist Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's future depends on voters like those who spoke with NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

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2:19pm

Mon April 2, 2012
The Salt

French Muslims Ease Cultural Tensions With French-Halal Food

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 2:21 pm

A butcher shop in Paris, which prominently advertises that it sells halal meat.
Michel Euler AP

On a recent evening, Les Enfants Terribles, a Paris restaurant that serves French cuisine cooked with halal meat, was brimming with customers.

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8:00am

Sat March 31, 2012
Europe

Socialist Campaigns Against Sarkozy, 'Big Finance'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

French voters go to the polls three weeks from today to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. Current president Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting for his life in a close race against a man who has never held national office, and is virtually unknown outside of France. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this profile of socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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3:35am

Fri March 30, 2012
Europe

French Killings Spark National Soul-Searching

Hundreds of people gather on March 23 on the main public square in Toulouse, France, to pay homage to the seven victims of self-proclaimed al-Qaida militant Mohamed Merah.
Eric Cabanis AFP/Getty Images

The killings in France of three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers of North African descent came during a presidential campaign in which immigration has dominated campaign rhetoric. The Toulouse gunman, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, was shot dead by police, but the tragedy has prompted national soul-searching.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
Europe

With Gunman Dead, France Probes For Answers

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Mohamed Mehra, the self-confessed gunman who terrorized the French city of Toulouse, was killed yesterday in a shootout with French police. Authorities had hoped to bring him in alive, to find out what drove him to commit the attacks that left seven dead, including three children at a Jewish school. Now, France is left to wonder whether its intelligence services missed signs that could've prevented the tragedy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

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12:01am

Thu March 15, 2012
The Salt

In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:29 pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to a butcher during a visit to the butchery pavilion at the Rungis international food market, near Paris, in February.
Anna Maria Jakub Getty Images

A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.

It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

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4:00am

Wed March 14, 2012
NPR Story

Marine Le Pen Enters France's Presidential Race

Far right politician Marine Le Pen is officially in the French presidential race after getting the required 500 mayors' signatures to appear on the ballot. She launched her campaign in a small town in the north of France, a poor region where many see globalization and immigration as France's biggest problems.

8:00am

Sun March 4, 2012
Europe

French Head To The Slopes For Winter Break

Paris has become a virtual ghost town as families vacate the city for two weeks of ski holiday, a time-honored ritual the French seem disinclined to give up. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

12:01am

Wed February 29, 2012
Europe

For Leap Day Only, A Rare Newspaper Goes To Print

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

A man reads a copy of the satirical newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper's Candle), published every leap day, in a Parisian cafe on Feb. 29, 2008. The paper's tagline is "without reproach."
Patrick Hertzog AFP/Getty Images

At newsstands across France on Wednesday, readers will delight to a humorous broadsheet published every four years on leap day.

At news shops in Paris and around France, readers look forward to their copy of La Bougie du Sapeur every Feb. 29. Published since 1980, the satirical journal is now in its ninth edition. Its title, which translates as "sapper's candle," is taken from an old French comic-book figure who was born on that fateful last day of February.

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5:28am

Sun February 26, 2012
Europe

Will France's First Lady Be Able To Seduce Voters?

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:20 am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, greet supporters during a campaign rally in Marseille, France, on Feb. 19.
Patrick Aventurier Getty Images

In the traditional world of French politics, spouses don't usually jump into the fray. But French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is anything but a traditional political spouse.

Her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, has just announced he is running for re-election this spring. It's a challenge: Polls show him trailing the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's wife has promised to do everything she can to help her husband win — and that includes hitting the campaign trail.

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8:00am

Sun February 12, 2012
Europe

Sarkozy's Re-Election On The Backburner

France is holding a presidential election in the spring, and the campaign is in full swing, sort of. The only thing missing is one of the candidates: President Nicolas Sarkozy. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he hasn't yet announced whether he's running for re-election.

4:50pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Politics

On The Trail, Romney Avoids His French Connection

Mitt Romney with his then fiancee, Ann (right), and Romney's parents, in Washington, D.C., in 1969. Romney had returned from Mormon missionary work in France the previous year.
JH AP

Mitt Romney waxed eloquent in French as he promoted the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, calling the two years he spent as a young man in France an "enriching experience."

But now that he's running for president of the United States, Romney doesn't talk a lot about his time as a Mormon missionary in France.

"Voilà," says Philippe Brillaut, as he points to the site of what would be France's first Mormon temple.

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5:57am

Sun January 29, 2012
Religion

On The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

Though marginal, the de-baptism movement is growing, observers say.
iStockphoto.com

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier's parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

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4:06pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Europe

At The Louvre, A Rare Showcase For American Art

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:03 pm

An exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris explores American landscape painting. Here, the museum's director, Henri Loyrette, looks at the oil paintings of Thomas Cole (1801-1848), known for his realistic and detailed works.
Francois Mori AP

The Louvre had a record 9 million visitors last year, and about 10 percent of them were American. Yet the iconic Paris art museum only has four American paintings in its huge permanent collection.

But the Louvre's curators want to change that and heighten the public's knowledge and awareness of early American art with a new exhibit.

Nationwide, French museums own some 2,000 American paintings, but those Whistlers, Homers and Cassatts are exhibited in more modern museums such as the Musee d'Orsay.

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1:51pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Salt

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:41 pm

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Europe

French Dilemma: How To Burn Off All That Overtime?

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 8:32 am

France's 35-hour work week has resulted in some workers accumulating vast amounts of overtime that they are required to use this year. The problem is particularly acute at some hospitals. Here a woman speaks with a doctor at the Conception Hospital in Marseille on Tuesday.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

France's 35-hour work week has plenty of critics who say it has sapped the country of its competitiveness and is tying companies in knots. And to make their case, a leading example is the current state of overtime at French hospitals.

Along with five weeks of annual leave, French employees get time off if they work more than 35 hours in a week. At the Hopital Vaugirard, a public hospital in central Paris, employees have accumulated more than 2 million days off in the past decade.

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6:00am

Sat January 14, 2012
Europe

AAA No More: Credit Downgrade Hits France

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 2:12 pm

The loss of France's AAA credit rating is likely to play a role in President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election bid.
Charles Platiau AP

Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign debt of France, Italy, Spain and six other European countries on Friday. The move was highly expected, but it's still a blow to France and sending shock waves across Europe. France is the eurozone's second-largest economy, and its downgrade could even threaten Europe's master plan to stop its debt crisis.

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4:00am

Wed January 11, 2012
Europe

Joan Of Arc's Star Power In Demand In France

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 6:42 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, so we're tracking TV votes in China, the presidential primary in New Hampshire - won by Mitt Romney - and the presidential election in France, where a new star has emerged: Joan of Arc. This year is the 600th anniversary of her birth, and as the country celebrates, politicians are hoping some of St. Joan's divine powers will rub off. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

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4:40pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Europe

Fears Grow Over Faulty French-Made Breast Implants

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:27 pm

French-made breast implants produced by the Poly Implant Prothese company have been found to be faulty and are at the heart of a growing health scandal.
Sebastien Nogier AFP/Getty Images

A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.

The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.

French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.

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8:00am

Sun January 1, 2012
Europe

Debt Crisis Just History In The Making To Some French

These are gloomy times for debt-burdened France, but in the countryside some are taking a longer view. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

4:00am

Wed December 14, 2011
Europe

French Parliament Moves To Ban Prostitution

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the middle of a debt crisis and with a French presidential election looming, lawmakers from the left and right found something to agree on: prostitution. After years of taking a relaxed approach to prostitution, France may be about to outlaw the practice - not on the seller's part, but on the buyer's. Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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6:01am

Mon December 5, 2011
Europe

Merkel, Sarkozy Meet Ahead Of Brussels Summit

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:04 pm

As European leaders prepare for yet another "last-ditch" effort to save the euro at a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the two eurozone powerhouses, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meet in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley talks about their meeting.

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3:00pm

Thu December 1, 2011
Europe

Sarkozy Lays Foundation For Reshaping The Eurozone

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 10:14 pm

During a speech delivered Thursday in Toulon, France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be announcing new measures to guarantee the future of Europe.
Claude Paris AP

In a highly anticipated speech Thursday night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy laid the groundwork for tighter French-German cooperation.

He made an ambitious call for a rewrite of European treaties, but his speech — billed as his last-ditch plan to save the euro — offered no concrete emergency measures to contain Europe's debt crisis.

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12:01am

Mon November 14, 2011
Europe

Carlos The Jackal: On Trial Again, And Still Defiant

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 7:13 am

Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, sits in a Paris courtroom in 2000 with his French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who later became his wife. Carlos is already serving a life sentence, but is on trial again, charged with terrorist bombings in France in the 1980s.
Michel Lipchitz AP

Carlos the Jackal, the man who sowed fear during the Cold War with terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, has now been in prison for close to two decades.

But he's once again on trial in France, and the case has riveted the country.

French television footage showed Carlos being taken to the Palais de Justice in an armored van guarded by policemen darting about with machine guns. In this case, Carlos is accused of masterminding four bomb attacks in France in the early 1980s that killed 11 people and wounded more than 100.

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4:00am

Fri October 28, 2011
Europe

Sarkozy Warns France Of More Belt-Tightening Ahead

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, host: And, of course, this crisis stretches far beyond Greece. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went on national television last night to explain his country's part of the deal. He said the French people must expect further belt-tightening measures. Eleanor Beardsley reports that it was a chance for Sarkozy to assert control just six months ahead of a presidential election.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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3:00pm

Tue October 25, 2011
Africa

Tunisia Announces Results Of Election

A supporter of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party celebrates on Tuesday at the party's headquarters in Tunis. Ennahda is leading the results of Tunisia's first free and democratic election — though is not expected to win an outright majority.

Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

In Tunisia, a moderate, once-banned Islamist political party is on track to win the country's first free and democratic election — and the first among the countries of the Arab Spring. On Sunday, Tunisians elected a national assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution.

Despite the strong showing by the Islamists, no party is expected to get an absolute majority in the assembly and the new government will likely to be a coalition of secular and religious parties. And that, it appears, is what most Tunisians want.

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4:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
Africa

Tunisia's First Free Election Deemed Success

Tunisians proud of sparking the Arab Spring are now celebrating another first in this long revolutionary season: a free and fair election. After decades of dictatorship, Tunisians happily waited in long lines to cast their votes for a national assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution. Election officials say in some areas the turnout was 90 percent.

8:14am

Sun October 23, 2011
Africa

Tunisians Wake To Their Very First Election Day

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 7:20 pm

Tunisians are voting Sunday in the country's first free and democratic election. The small North African nation was the first to overthrow its dictator last January in a popular movement that soon spread to other authoritarian Arab nations.

Now, analysts say what happens in Tunisia will be key to whether democracy is to take root across the rest of the Arab world.

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5:16pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Africa

Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 9:42 pm

A Tunisian woman in the capital, Tunis, walks past a wall covered with posters of political candidates, on Oct. 20. Tunisia touched off the Arab uprisings this year, and it is holding elections Sunday to draw up a new constitution.

Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Tunisians, who touched off the Arab uprisings and rid themselves of a dictator nine months ago, are now going to the polls to elect a constitutional assembly. There is pride, confusion, but mostly optimism ahead of Sunday's vote.

The people of Tunisia had basically one choice at the ballot box for the last 50 years. But now they have more than 100 parties and thousands of candidates to choose from. And they're getting a taste of a real political campaign.

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