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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Parallels
12:18 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

'Burqa Ban' Sparks Another Round Of Clashes In France

A Muslim woman walks in a Paris suburb where protesters clashed with police over the weekend. The demonstrators oppose the way the police have enforced a ban on Islamic face veils. Five people were injured and six detained in the unrest.
Olivier Corsan Maxppp/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 4:02 pm

France's ban on face coverings — the so-called burqa ban — has been the law since 2011, but it's still a sensitive topic.

The latest round of unrest began Friday when police officers asked a woman wearing a head-to-toe veil to lift the garment and show her face.

Authorities say the woman's husband attacked the police officer. Muslim groups say the police were disrespectful. The man was eventually arrested, which sparked protests that degenerated into violence.

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News
2:16 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Train Derails In Suburban Paris, Killing Six

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 8:22 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The train crash last night outside of Paris has killed at least six people and injured many more. This morning, rescue workers were still searching for bodies. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that state rail officials say a faulty track may be to blame.

GUILLAUME PEPY: (Foreign language spoken)

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Parallels
10:09 am
Mon July 1, 2013

An Online Upstart Roils French Media, Politics

Edwy Plenel, head of the online investigative journalism website Mediapart, at his Paris office in April. The paper has attracted paying subscribers and is making a profit.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 1:11 pm

Every week, it seems, a new scandal is unearthed by the upstart, online newspaper Mediapart. The most recent bomb was that President Francois Hollande's budget minister was evading taxes when he was supposed to be cracking down on tax cheats. After vehemently denying the allegations, in the face of overwhelming evidence, Jerome Cahuzac was forced to resign.

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The Salt
12:21 am
Sat June 1, 2013

France Sells Presidential Wines To Update Palace Wine Cellar

French President Francois Hollande's palace has decided to dive into its wine cellar and sell some of its treasures to raise money and replenish its collection with more modest vintages. About 1,200 bottles, a 10th of the Elysee's wine collection, are being sold at the Drouot auction house in Paris this week.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 10:46 am

Prized Burgundies and Bordeaux once served at the presidential palace in France were sold for the first time ever as the wine cellar at Elysee Palace gets an overhaul.

Some 1,200 bottles, or 10 percent of the palace wines, went on sale this week at the famous Drouot auction house in downtown Paris. On the block were vintages from 1930 to 1990, including famous names such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Montrachet.

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Parallels
9:10 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Let Them Eat Grass: Paris Employs Sheep As Eco-Mowers

Sheep used to replace gas-guzzling lawn mowers graze at a truck warehouse at Evry, south of Paris.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 1:02 pm

City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.

Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.

Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.

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Europe
11:47 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

France Pays Tribute To Early U.S. Fighter Pilots

A memorial outside Paris honors members of the Lafayette Squadron, which was started by a group of young American men in 1914 who wanted to fight for France when World War I broke out. The U.S. had not yet entered the war.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 3:47 am

Every Memorial Day weekend, a ceremony takes place just outside Paris to honor a group of Americans who fought in France. They're not D-Day veterans, but a little known group of pilots who fought for France in World War I, before the U.S. entered the war.

This year's ceremony in the tiny town of Marnes-la-Coquette began with a flyover by two French air force Mirage fighter jets from the Escadrille Lafayette, or Lafayette Squadron, paying tribute to the men who founded the group nearly 100 years ago.

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Europe
12:55 am
Sat May 25, 2013

War Of Words: France Debates Teaching Courses In English

Demonstrators in Paris protest Thursday against a measure to teach more university courses in English.
Jacques Demarthon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:13 pm

Will teaching in English at France's universities undermine the French language? That's up for debate in the country now, and the argument is heated.

The lower house of parliament approved a measure Thursday that would allow courses to be taught in English, something that is currently against the law.

Those in favor of the proposal say it will attract more international students and improve English language skills of French students. But opponents say the move will only impoverish and marginalize the country's tongue.

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Parallels
12:19 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

An Ancient Religious Pilgrimage That Now Draws The Secular

A pilgrim walks the Way of St. James outside Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, on July 21, 2010. The ancient religious pilgrimage is also attracting the nonreligious these days.
Miguel Riopa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 4:00 pm

A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage route is experiencing a revival. Last year alone, some 200,000 followed in the footsteps of their medieval forebears on the Way of St. James, making their way some 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of the eponymous apostle.

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Europe
6:37 am
Wed May 8, 2013

In France, A Renewed Push To Return Art Looted By Nazis

A photo taken by the Nazis during World War II shows a room filled with stolen art at the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. Using improved technology and the Internet, the French government is making a renewed push to track down the rightful owners of art looted by the Nazis.
Courtesy of Archives des Musees Nationaux A Paris

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 4:55 pm

During World War II, the Nazis plundered tens of thousands of works of art from the private collections of European Jews, many living in France. About 75 percent of the artwork that came back to France from Germany at the end of the war has been returned to their rightful owners.

But there are still approximately 2,000 art objects that remain unclaimed. The French government has now begun one of its most extensive efforts ever to find the heirs and return the art.

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World
10:57 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Bombing Suspects' Chechen Roots Weigh Heavy On Nation' Refugees

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 12:01 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Tsarnaev brothers are among tens of thousands of Chechens whose families have sought asylum abroad after two brutal wars with Russia. About 10 percent of the entire Chechen population now lives in Europe. France has one of the largest communities. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley spoke with Chechens in Paris to see how they're reacting to the attack in Boston.

AICHAT: (Foreign language spoken)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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World
11:04 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Routine On U.S. Racetracks, Horse Doping Is Banned In Europe

French jockey Olivier Peslier celebrates a win at Longchamps racecourse near Paris in 2012. While many drugs can legally be used on horses in U.S. racing, they are barred in Europe.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:30 pm

At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course.

Horse racing in Europe is different from the sport in the U.S., from the shape and surface of the track to race distances and the season itself. Another big difference is doping.

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Europe
10:04 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Versailles Gets Spiffed-Up On Its Day Off

Restorer Nicoletta Rinaldi works on the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace, west of Paris, in 2007.
Remy de la Mauviniere AP

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 6:14 am

With nearly 7 million visitors a year, the Chateau of Versailles in France is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. But one day a week, it's closed.

So what happens at Versailles on its day off? A spa day, of sorts — involving cleaning and conservation work.

Catherine Pegard, president of Versailles, says the palace is always caught between history and modernity.

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Europe
11:40 am
Thu March 14, 2013

As Global Chains Move In, The Champs Elysees Gets A New Look

Diners eat at Fouquet's restaurant, a landmark on the Champs Elysees in Paris for more than a century. Traditional cafes and shops are steadily giving way to large global chains.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:49 pm

Once known as the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Champs Elysees is changing. Some Parisians fear it's starting to look like any American shopping mall as high rents and global chains steadily alter its appearance.

"We just try to keep a sort of diversity on the Champs Elysees, with the cinemas, with restaurants, with cafes and shops," says Deputy Mayor Lynn Cohen-Solal. "We don't think the laws of the natural market, the free market, make for a good Champs Elysees."

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Europe
7:19 am
Thu February 28, 2013

U.S. Boss Offers Blunt Critique; French Workers Give Fiery Response

French workers burn tires outside the Goodyear tire factory in Amiens, France, on Tuesday, after Titan CEO Maurice Taylor criticized French workers in a letter addressed to Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 3:01 pm

The battle between an American capitalist and a French socialist official has prompted chuckles — and heated debate — on both sides of the Atlantic. The exchange highlights some humorous stereotypes and reveals real differences between the economic cultures of France and the United States.

A leaked letter from Maurice Taylor, CEO of the Illinois-based Titan tire company, ignited the controversy. In it, Taylor, regarded by the French as a hardcore capitalist, addressed Arnaud Montebourg, France's flamboyant, leftist industrial renewal minister.

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Africa
12:47 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

In Algeria, Sahara Attack Revives A Fear Of Renewed Terrorism

Algerian police stop cars at a checkpoint in In Amenas, deep in the Sahara near the Libyan border, on Jan. 18. Islamists took hostages at a nearby gas field in a major international incident.
Farouk Batiche AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:30 am

When Muslim extremists overran an oil and gas facility in Algeria's Sahara desert last month, Algerians saw the drama through the lens of their own painful history.

The news that terrorists had seized the In Amenas oil and gas plant stunned people in Algiers, the Algerian capital, who thought they'd seen the last of such attacks.

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Africa
10:40 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

A Murder Deepens Tunisia's Political Crisis

Tunisian soldiers stand guard as a woman holds up a poster featuring opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession in a suburb of Tunis on Feb. 8. Belaid's assassination has laid bare the political rifts in post-revolutionary Tunisia.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 1:24 am

The political crisis in Tunisia is deepening after last week's murder of a prominent secular politician. Tunisians are increasingly divided over their country's government and future, just two years after collectively overthrowing the dictator in a popular revolution.

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World
7:28 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Chaos Follows Funeral For Slain Leader In Tunisia

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We want to go live now to the nation of Tunisia, where tens of thousands of people turned out today for the funeral of an assassinated opposition leader. Political tensions turned violent as young men clashed with police. The scene was a reminder of the precariousness of the situation in Tunisia - two years after the Arab Spring revolution began there. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was at the funeral and joins me on the line. And Eleanor, what was the scene at this funeral? What did you see?

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Opinion
2:43 am
Sat January 26, 2013

In Paris, A Hunt For Those Who Dodge Dog Duties

The streets of Paris are marred by messes from dogs whose owners haven't cleaned up after them. There's a fine, but the culprits have to be caught in the act (or lack thereof).
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 12:36 pm

This essay by NPR correspondent Eleanor Beardsley was borne out of the personal exasperation of living in a beautiful city with one thing she found very, very wrong.

When you walk down the grand boulevards of the City of Light, you have to be careful where you step.

Every day, my senses are assaulted by the piles I have to dodge in the Parisian streets. There are the fresh ones that leave me feeling angry, and the ones from the previous days that have begun to smear down the street on the bottoms of people's shoes.

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Technology
11:57 am
Tue January 22, 2013

French Twitter Lawsuit Pits Free Speech Against Hate Speech

A wave of racist tweets prompted a Jewish student organization to file a lawsuit asking the American company Twitter to reveal the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. Twitter says data on users is collected and stocked in California, where French law cannot be applied.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 3:48 pm

A French judge will decide this week if Twitter must hand over the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. The case, brought against Twitter by a Jewish student organization, pits America's free speech guarantees against Europe's laws banning hate speech.

The controversy began in October, when the French Union of Jewish Students threatened to sue Twitter to get the names of people posting anti-Semitic tweets with the hashtag #unbonjuif, or "a good Jew."

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Africa
12:34 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

France To Send More Troops To Mali To Combat Islamist Militants

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 3:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The French defense minister says France is preparing for a possible land assault in Mali, so it plans to increase its troop levels to 2,500. Back home in France, authorities are girding for possible terrorist attacks in response to their intervention. Eleanor Beardsley has that story from Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (French spoken)

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Europe
1:53 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Competitive Advantage Could Force French Labor Changes

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 2:56 am

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to improve his country's competitiveness. But to better compete, France has to overhaul its labor market, and some hard-earned workers' rights and privileges could be lost.

Europe
12:22 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

A man wears a costume reading "Dad" and "Mom" during a demonstration against gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Nice, France, in October.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:14 pm

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

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World
9:59 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Gerard Depardieu's Tax Flight Stirs Fierce Debate In France

French actor Gerard Depardieu speaks outside Paris in March. He recently said he was moving to neighboring Belgium to avoid France's new top tax rate of 75 percent. The news ignited a debate in France over taxes and patriotism.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Gerard Depardieu, one of France's most iconic and beloved film stars, is now at the center of a national uproar over French taxes and patriotism.

Depardieu, who has been in around 200 films, says he's moving to Belgium to avoid paying a new 75 percent tax on the superwealthy. The move has divided the country and has focused attention on the Socialist government's controversial new tax policy.

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Europe
10:25 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Doomsayers claim the French village of Bugarach, population 200, will be spared when the world supposedly ends Friday.
Guillaume Horcajuelo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 6:37 am

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

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Europe
5:59 am
Tue December 18, 2012

In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15

An employee tidies boxes of medicines displayed in a pharmacy in the city of Caen in western France last month. Beginning in 2013, girls between the ages of 15 and 18 will be able to get birth control free of charge, and without parental notification.
Charly Triballeau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:16 am

Beginning next year, young women in France between the ages of 15 and 18 will have access to birth control free of charge, and without parental notification. The French government says the new measure is intended to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance, taboo and lack of access to contraception.

One place where information is available on birth control, abortion and sexual abuse is a family planning clinic in a gritty neighborhood in the east of Paris.

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Europe
12:38 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Getting The Royal Treatment En Route To Versailles

The Belvedere on Marie Antoinette's estate.

Courtesy of Christian Recoura

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 9:39 am

The opulence of the court of Louis XIV ... on a commuter train from Paris?

That's the surprise awaiting some lucky visitors to the Palace of Versailles. The cars of about 30 trains traveling between Paris and the palace have been completely decked out to reflect the sprawling and stately residence of former French kings, providing a sneak preview of sorts.

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Education
1:14 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 2:39 pm

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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Europe
12:43 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Glitzy Burgundy Wine Auction Taps Celebrities

France's former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, auctioneer Francois de Ricqles and former soccer coach Guy Roux preside over the 152nd Hospices de Beaune wine auction Sunday in Beaune, France. The charity auction raised an all-time high of $7.5 million, which goes to area hospitals.
Tardivon Jean-Christophe Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 9:09 am

For the last century and a half, the wine season in France's grape-growing region of Burgundy has revolved around one major commercial event. On the third Sunday in November, hundreds of barrels of the recent harvest are sold to the highest bidder in a charity wine auction. The historic event, which took place this year on Nov. 18, has evolved into an A-list rendezvous for the power players in the international wine industry.

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Europe
10:36 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Burgundy's Yield Fails To Meet Grape Expectations

Workers pick fruit Sept. 22 during the grape harvest at the Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard in France's Burgundy region. Bad weather has reduced the grape yield by as much as 70 percent in some vineyards.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 12:09 pm

Neat rows of grapevines run down the slopes of the Cotes de Beaune, all the way to the gravel driveway at Chateau de Corton Andre. The castle's traditional Burgundy black-and-yellow-tiled roof glistens in the autumn sun.

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All Tech Considered
12:34 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

European Union Protests Google's New Privacy Policy

In this photo illustration, the Google logo is seen through a pair of glasses in Glasgow, Scotland. The European Union says a change in Google's privacy policy is a breach of European privacy law.
Jeff J. Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:53 pm

Parisian dance professor Charlotte King says she needs Google for her job and life, but she doesn't trust the world's top Web search engine.

"When I'm doing some research, the day after I have some proposition of products, of stores, of places, and it's really espionage. I was spied on. I don't want that. It's unacceptable," King says.

That viewpoint resonates in Europe. The European Union says a recent change in Google's privacy policy that allows it to combine and share data collected from all of its different services is a breach of European privacy law.

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