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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6:14am

Sun October 23, 2011
Africa

Tunisians Wake To Their First Free Elections

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 5:20 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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3:16pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Africa

Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 7:42 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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2:00am

Tue October 18, 2011
Europe

EU To Decide Food Aid Program's Future

As Europe's debt crisis drags on, the social safety nets in place in eurozone countries are beginning to fray. One long-standing program, which is financed by the European Union, and uses surplus food stocks, may end soon. The decision on whether to cut funding to the food aid program comes as more people join the soup lines.

2:00am

Wed October 12, 2011
Europe

Does Dexia's Collapse Herald A Wider Banking Crisis?

Until now, the eurozone debt crisis has been confined to countries on the continent's periphery — like Greece, Spain and Ireland. But that may be changing with the collapse of a bank at the core of the eurozone. While some call Franco-Belgian lender Dexia's demise an exception, others say it is a wake-up call for all European banks.

2:59pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Europe

French Feminists Say 'Non' To 'Mademoiselle'

In France, feminists are trying to do away with the word mademoiselle, which they see as separating women into two categories — married and unmarried — in a manner men aren't subjected to.
Thurston Hopkins Getty Images

Feminists in France say the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal has forced the country to confront longstanding sexist attitudes. Buoyed by this new awareness, they are now taking on what they see as one of the most entrenched, if not discreet, barriers to gender equality in France: the word "mademoiselle."

In France, when you fill out a form — whether it's a job application or a parking citation — if you're a woman, you have to choose between madame and mademoiselle.

Too bad if you feel your marital status is nobody's business, there's simply no French equivalent of "Ms."

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2:00am

Wed September 14, 2011
Europe

Moody's Downgrades Ratings Of 2 French Banks

The downgrade by Moody's Investors Service didn't come as a huge surprise. French banks hold a large amount of Greek debt and their shares have taken a beating in world markets lately. France is at the heart of the eurozone crisis because its banks are some of the most heavily invested in Greek debt.

5:53am

Sat August 6, 2011
Europe

The French Are Getting Fatter, Too

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:00 pm

Restaurants line a street of the Quartier Latin in central Paris.
Bertrand Guay AFP/Getty Images

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

As the United States struggles to cope with obesity rates, France is often looked to as a counterexample. Yet obesity is on the rise there as well now, and though French culinary traditions are often credited with keeping people trim, some worry those eating habits are under assault.

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3:00am

Tue August 2, 2011
Europe

Some Worry French Military Stretched Too Thin

France has been engaged on numerous military fronts this year as the country's armed forces back up President Nicolas Sarkozy's active foreign policy. The French military's quick success in ousting Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was lauded, but other interventions — like the one in Libya — drag on, leaving many to wonder if public support and the country's budget will be able to keep pace.

Analysts say the French military is in crisis, strained by restructuring and budget cuts, and tested by three simultaneous conflicts abroad.

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