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
2:26 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

In Secular French Schools, One Group Wants To Talk Religion

A student attends a course on religion at a middle school in Metz, in eastern France, on June 5. French schools teach basics, like the history of religion, but discourage any displays of religious identity.
Jean-Christophe Verhaegen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 4:35 pm

For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

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Europe
3:04 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Migrants In French Camp Near English Channel Attempt To Get Into Britain

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 5:35 am

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Business
3:18 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

French Taxi Drivers Launch Nationwide Uber Protest

Originally published on Fri June 26, 2015 3:08 am

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Parallels
7:38 am
Sat June 20, 2015

At Waterloo Re-Enactment, History So Real You Can Taste It

Re-enactors prepare to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Battle of Waterloo in Belgium on Friday. Some 5,000 re-enactors, 300 horses and 100 canons are taking part over two days.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Originally published on Sat June 20, 2015 4:41 pm

Tens of thousands of people have been gathering in the Belgian countryside over the last week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. The bloody battle of June 18, 1815, marked the final defeat for Napoleon at the hands of a coalition of his enemies. The re-enactment is attracting history buffs, tourists and wannabe soldiers.

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Europe
6:01 am
Sat June 13, 2015

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Acquitted Of Aggravated Pimping

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 9:46 am

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Sports
3:08 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Amid Scandal, FIFA President To Resign Just Days After Being Reelected

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 12:15 pm

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Europe
2:32 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Paris Officials Begin Removing Love Locks From Iconic Bridges

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 11:38 am

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The city of romance has had enough of love - well, love locks. Officials in Paris say the padlocks attached to bridges by lovebirds threaten the city's historic architecture and public safety. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sent this report.

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Sports
5:43 am
Sat May 30, 2015

Despite Scandal, FIFA Re-Elects Sepp Blatter As President

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 9:14 am

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Sports
3:08 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Sepp Blatter Reelected To 5th Term As FIFA President

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 4:20 pm

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Sports
3:18 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Under Cloud Of Scandal, Sepp Blatter Seeks 5th Term As FIFA President

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 6:39 am

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Parallels
2:06 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Does Less Latin Mean Dumbing Down? France Debates School Reform

Striking French teachers hold a German flag as they take part in a nationwide protest against new measures aimed at revamping the country's school system, in Marseille, France, on May 19. France's 840,000 teachers are largely opposed to the reform, their unions say, fearing it will increase competition between schools and exacerbate inequalities.
Jean-Paul Pelissier Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 8:17 am

Reforming the education system in any country can be tricky. But in France, where learning is highly centralized and public school (l'ecole de la Republique) a symbol of French greatness, it's all but impossible.

Several French presidents have tried and failed. President Francois Hollande's second attempt has traditionalists up in arms and critics on the right and left screaming that French schools are being dumbed down.

Teachers, students and some parents took to the streets of cities across the country recently to denounce the government's project.

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Parallels
9:18 am
Wed May 13, 2015

One Woman's Struggle To Survive 'Too Much Vacation' In France

NPR Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley with her husband, Ulysse Gosset, and son, Maxime, on a ski vacation in the Alps in February. When she first moved to France, Beardsley enjoyed the frequent holidays. But combined with many school breaks, she and other working parents often find it becomes a burden.
Courtesy of Eleanor Beardsley

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 10:04 am

May in France is known as the Swiss cheese month because of all the holiday holes in it. There are four national holidays and thus four long weekends. May 1 was the May Day workers' fete, May 8 marked the World War II victory in Europe, and there are two others I'll get to in a moment.

Instead of enjoying the long weekends, I find myself struggling to cope. I imagine working parents in Boston felt this way about snow days this past winter. Paris doesn't get buried in snow. But the holidays — and the school days off — are relentless.

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Parallels
1:36 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Still Playing: The Theater That Saw The Birth Of Cinema

The world's oldest operating cinema, the Eden, in La Ciotat, southern France, screened some of the first films of the Lumiere brothers in 1895.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 11:22 am

Not far from the glitzy Mediterranean film festival venue of Cannes lies another town with a connection to cinema. There are no stars or red carpet, but La Ciotat has an even longer relationship with film, and boasts the world's oldest surviving movie theater.

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Europe
5:37 am
Sat May 9, 2015

Three Generations Of Le Pens Fight For Party's Future

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 4:29 am

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Parallels
3:25 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Replica Of Lafayette's Ship Re-Creates Historic Voyage To America

The Marquis de Lafayette sailed across the Atlantic to America aboard the original Hermione in 1780 and joined the American rebels in their struggle for independence from Great Britain. This replica will retrace his voyage; it's scheduled to arrive in Yorktown, Va., on June 5.
Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 12:02 am

Hundreds of American towns, streets and parks are named after the Marquis de Lafayette — the French general who came in 1780 to help George Washington in the struggle for independence.

Now, an exact replica of the general's ship is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, retracing Lafayette's voyage.

The magnificent "tall ship" is anchored in the waters off the coast of Fouras in western France. Its towering masts and 18th century rigging set it apart from any other boat out here.

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Europe
2:37 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

After Apartment Search, German Investigators Say Co-Pilot Hid An Illness

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 11:06 am

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News
7:17 am
Thu March 26, 2015

French Prosecutor Points Toward Co-Pilot's Actions In Jet's Crash

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News
8:10 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Germanwings Jet Crashes In The French Alps

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Parallels
10:03 am
Sun March 22, 2015

Parisians Sing The Praises Of 'Singin In The Rain'

An actor performs during a March 9 rehearsal of Singin' in the Rain on the stage of the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. American musicals were rarely performed in France in the past, but have been a huge hit in recent years.
Jacques Demarthon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:43 am

Once again, Parisians are ecstatic over the latest American musical production playing at the city's Chatelet Theatre.

"Singin' in the Rain is a little corner of paradise," the French newspaper Le Figaro wrote of the show, which is playing through March 26 to sold-out audiences.

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Parallels
6:47 am
Sat March 7, 2015

For A French Rabbi And His Muslim Team, There's Work To Be Done

Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his French Jewish Muslim Friendship Association works with many young people in poor neighborhoods.
Pierre Andrieu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 9:15 am

Rabbi Michel Serfaty drives to his first appointment of the day, in a suburb south of Paris, just a couple miles from the notorious housing project where gunman Amedy Coulibaly grew up.

Coulibaly is the self-proclaimed Islamist radical who killed a police officer and later four people in a Kosher market in Paris terrorist attacks in January.

France has Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities. For the last decade Serfaty and his team have been working in bleak places like this, trying to promote understanding between the two populations.

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Parallels
5:37 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Many French Muslims Find Lives Of Integration, Not Separation

Three women, two of them partially veiled, walk past a hijabs shop in Paris. The wearing of the veil has been a serious point of contention in France, with the government banning its use in public schools and the wearing of face-covering garments, including burqas and niqabs, in public.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 7:11 am

Excited children shout out the answers during a Sunday afternoon Arabic class at the grand mosque in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. The mosque has thousands of worshipers and is one of the largest in Western Europe.

Aboubakar Sabri is a part-time imam there. During the week he runs a successful elevator-construction firm in Paris. Sabri came to France from Morocco in 1980 for doctoral studies at the Sorbonne, then stayed and raised three daughters.

He says Muslims can live perfectly well in French secular society.

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Europe
2:27 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

French Authorities Pursue Drones Spotted Near Sensitive Sites

A drone is displayed Wednesday at Paris store Azur Modelisme. Law enforcement officials in the city are concerned about recent unexplained drone fly-bys of high-security sites, including the Eiffel Tower and the U.S. embassy.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 8:33 am

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Wed February 25, 2015

France Warns Russia And Its Allies Not To Advance On Ukrainian Port City

Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near a burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, last month.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 1:13 pm

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said this morning on French radio that if separatist troops advanced on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, that would constitute a new red line.

"I told my counterpart Sergei Lavrov that such a move would mean Russia wants to make a link with Crimea, and that would change everything," said Fabius.

Then he stated that Europe would have to look at slapping new sanctions on Russia.

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Parallels
5:32 am
Sun February 15, 2015

After Paris Attacks, Voltaire's 'Tolerance' Is Back In Vogue

A woman looks at flowers placed near the headquarters of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, on Feb. 7. Islamist extremists stormed the offices of the satirical newspaper, killing 12 people in January.
Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 6:00 pm

Like most bookshops around Paris, Emile, which caters to young readers, sold all its copies of Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance on Jan. 8, the day after two gunmen stormed into satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killing eight journalists.

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks that took the lives of 20 people, Voltaire's manifesto in favor of religious tolerance — written in 1763 — is flying off the shelves.

Emile employee Laurianne Ledus says she was surprised that an 18th-century manuscript could become a bestseller today.

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Europe
2:20 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Ukraine Dominates Meeting Of E.U. Leaders In Brussels

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:26 pm

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Parallels
1:33 am
Tue February 10, 2015

The French Debate: Free Speech Versus Hate Speech

Students hold pens and signs reading "I am Charlie" in La Rochelle, France, on Jan. 8. They were paying tribute to the 12 people killed the day before in an attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Xavier Leoty AFP/Getty

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 6:39 am

When terrorists attacked a satirical magazine in Paris last month, killing eight journalists, millions took to the streets in support of free speech. They waved pencils and carried signs in solidarity with the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

But in the weeks since those attacks, scores have also been arrested for condoning terrorism and inciting racial and religious hatred. Many now wonder if the government's crackdown on hate speech is compromising free speech.

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Parallels
2:14 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Russian Economic Woes Hit France's Ski Slopes

Russian tourists typically flock to the luxury ski resort of Megeve in the French Alps, but the weak ruble has kept them away this year.
Jean-Pierre Clatot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:16 am

Russia's worsening economy is having an impact far beyond its borders — even affecting Alpine ski resorts where Russians once flocked.

For the past decade, they've come in large numbers to ski the fabled Alpine slopes around Mont Blanc. But the drop in the ruble is now keeping them away. And that's having an effect on the wintertime economy in the region.

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

For Many French Jews, Anti-Semitism Has A Clear Source

French soldiers stand guard in front of the entrance of a synagogue in Lille, northern France, earlier this month.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 6:18 pm

"Making aliyah," or returning to Israel, is usually a cause for celebration among Jews. But recently fear has pushed many Jews to leave France — a record 7,000 departed last year.

And that was before the recent Paris attacks that included the killing of four Jews at a kosher grocery store.

Jean Marc Illouz, a former senior correspondent for French television, who is also Jewish, says he's been pushing back against what he calls ridiculous comments on the Internet about anti-Semitism in France. He says Americans seem to think it's a resurgence of Nazism.

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Europe
3:21 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Broad Anti-Terror Crackdown Covers France, Germany, Belgium

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 4:32 pm

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Parallels
3:29 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Some French Muslims See Conspiracies In Paris Shootings

A man walks through the Grand Mosque in Paris on Jan. 9. Some Muslims have questioned the official version of the shootings in Paris and embraced conspiracy theories. In schools, some Muslim students refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:43 pm

Last week's shootings in Paris shocked the French. Many received another jolt when they learned that some Muslim students refused to join in the minute of national silence observed across the country following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The newspaper Le Figaro quoted one teacher in a heavily Muslim neighborhood in the eastern city of Strasbourg as saying that 80 percent of her students did not participate.

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