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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1:28am

Fri September 28, 2012
Africa

Tunisians Battle Over The Meaning Of Free Expression

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 8:14 pm

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

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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2:17pm

Sun September 23, 2012
Europe

Poverty, Segregation Fuel Marseille Crime Wave

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 3:51 pm

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

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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4:56am

Tue September 18, 2012
Africa

Tunisians Fear Protests Scared Away Tourists

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's catch up, now, on protests that have swept through nation after nation, in response to an anti-Islamic film. And today, we go to Tunisia. It was the first nation to stage a successful uprising in the Arab Spring. It's a popular destination for tourists. And violence there, last week, took some by surprise. Eleanor Beardsley reports.

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4:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Europe

In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 8:17 pm

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

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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11:50am

Wed August 15, 2012
Europe

On Denmark's Summer Nights, Tivoli Gardens Beckon

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:17 pm

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

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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3:39am

Mon August 13, 2012
Europe

Norway To Issue Report On 2011 Shooting Rampage

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 5:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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2:04pm

Tue August 7, 2012
The Salt

Outsourced Croissants Outrage Traditional French Bakers

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:07 am

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

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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3:49am

Sat July 14, 2012
World

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

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 2:54 pm

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

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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12:23pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Europe

In France, The (Abandoned) Dog Days Of Summer

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 3:33 pm

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

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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5:55am

Sun July 1, 2012
Europe

'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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5:29am

Sat June 30, 2012
Europe

French President Inserts New Voice In EU Summit

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 5:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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10:03pm

Wed June 27, 2012
Movies

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

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:34 am

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.

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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5:28am

Sun June 17, 2012
Europe

France's New Leader Negotiates To Keep Promises

Originally published on Sun June 17, 2012 11:23 am

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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2:49pm

Wed June 13, 2012
Europe

French First Lady Sets Country A-Twitter

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 6:16 pm

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

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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4:16am

Thu June 7, 2012
Africa

Tunisians Say Economy Is Eclipsed By Other Issues

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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12:48am

Mon June 4, 2012
Africa

Some Taboos Vanish In Tunisia, Replaced By Others

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 12:49 am

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

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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2:08pm

Fri May 11, 2012
Europe

Who Needs Marriage? Not France's New President

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

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

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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3:21am

Tue May 8, 2012
Economy

What Hollande's Anti-Austerity Rhetoric Means

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 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?

3:06pm

Thu May 3, 2012
Europe

Will French Election Mark A Reversal Of Austerity?

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:43 am

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

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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1:07am

Tue May 1, 2012
Europe

In French Election, Candidates Chase Far-Right Votes

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 5:35 am

A campaign poster for French President Nicolas Sarkozy stands next to a torn poster of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in northern France. Sarkozy needs Le Pen's far-right voters if he is to win the runoff election on Sunday.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

President Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting desperately to hold on to his job with five days to go until the French presidential runoff against socialist rival Francois Hollande.

Both candidates have been trying to appeal to supporters of France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who came in third place in the first round of balloting held last month. Sarkozy, from the center-right, finished in second place, with Socialist candidate Francois Hollande taking first with nearly 29 percent of the vote.

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