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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1:31am

Fri December 26, 2014
Parallels

Europe's Far Right And Putin Get Cozy, With Benefits For Both

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 9:28 am

Marine Le Pen (center), leader of France's far-right National Front party, has visited Russia on several occasions, and a Russian bank recently lent her party $11 million.
Jean-Philippe Ksiazek AFP/Getty Images

Last month at a meeting of the far-right National Front in the French city of Lyon, there was a special guest: Andrey Isayev, a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's political party.

The apparent contradiction of political philosophies didn't seem to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm for Isayev's message: Long live Franco-Russian friendship, and down with the European Union! Isayev called the EU a "spineless lackey of the United States."

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1:28am

Thu December 25, 2014
Parallels

The French Go Crazy For 'An American In Paris'

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 1:49 pm

The stage version of the Hollywood classic An American in Paris combines British, French and American artistic traditions and stars Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in the roles made famous by Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly.
Marie-Noelle Robert Courtesy of Theatre du Chatelet

Parisians are going gaga over An American in Paris, the first-ever stage production of the 1951 Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron and with a musical score by George Gershwin.

The performance at Paris' Chatelet theater is getting rave reviews and has completely sold out. It's not hard to see why: The stage comes alive with the story of an American artist and the young French dancer he falls in love with. It's filled with fabulous dancing and all those great Gershwin tunes.

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2:16pm

Wed December 10, 2014
Europe

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

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:38 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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3:08pm

Wed December 3, 2014
Goats and Soda

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

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 8:34 am

TK
Courtesy of Jean-Christophe Nougaret/MSF

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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3:05am

Wed December 3, 2014
Europe

French Lawmakers Vote To Recognize Palestinian State

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 5:41 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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3:03am

Mon December 1, 2014
Europe

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

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 4:49 pm

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

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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2:44pm

Wed November 5, 2014
Book News & Features

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

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 8:23 am

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

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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3:20am

Sun October 26, 2014
Parallels

Stranded In France, Migrants Believe Britain Is The Answer

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 2:38 pm

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

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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1:39pm

Fri October 17, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 4:39 pm

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

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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7:04am

Sun September 28, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 8:06 am

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

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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11:42am

Mon September 8, 2014
Parallels

After A Tumultuous Summer, Ukrainian Kids Return To School

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 4:53 pm

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

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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5:52am

Sun September 7, 2014
Europe

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

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 10:51 am

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

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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2:08pm

Fri September 5, 2014
Europe

Ukraine Cease-Fire Brings End To 5 Months Of Violence

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 6:39 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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9:34am

Fri September 5, 2014
World

Ukraine Says It Reached A Cease-Fire Deal With Separatists

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:17 am

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

1:36am

Mon August 11, 2014
Europe

What Makes A Nation Happy?

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 7:42 am

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

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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2:16pm

Fri August 8, 2014
Europe

In France, The Seeds Of A Hatred Renewed

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 4:57 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:15pm

Tue July 29, 2014
Parallels

France Presses On With Deal To Sell Two Warships To Russia

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:31 pm

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

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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4:13am

Thu July 24, 2014
Parallels

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 8:53 am

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

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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3:08pm

Mon July 21, 2014
Theater

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

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:35 pm

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

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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11:54am

Mon July 21, 2014
The Salt

From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 3:04 pm

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

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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