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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Europe
3:25 am
Thu December 20, 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 11:37 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
10:59 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 3:16 pm

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
5:28 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 2:39 pm

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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Europe
5:43 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 2:09 pm

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
3:36 pm
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 5:09 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
5:34 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 6:53 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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Europe
5:20 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

With Topless Protests, 'Sextremists' March In Paris

French policemen on Oct. 15 detain topless activists from the group Femen who are protesting the verdict in a gang rape trial. The group was established in Ukraine but is now setting up an office in Paris.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Sometimes, less is more.

That's certainly the thinking of the Ukrainian feminist movement Femen, best known for its bare-breasted protests in its home country. Now it has brought its self-described "sextremism" to Paris, opening its first international training camp and wasting no time attracting new recruits, causes and attention.

On a recent sunny morning, seven young women stride purposefully toward the stone facade of France's Justice Ministry. Suddenly they throw their coats to the ground. Slogans are painted across their bare bosoms; garlands decorate their hair.

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The Salt
3:03 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Urban Parisian Vines Produce Wine With A Drop Of History

Crowds watch as Clos Montmartre's grapes are harvested during its annual October wine festival.
Jacque Brinon AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 10:45 am

In America, vineyards are usually tucked in out-of-the-way rural areas, among country lanes. But in France, where great wine is a way of life, vineyards are everywhere — even in the middle of the country's biggest city.

High on the hills of the neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris is Clos Montmartre, the city's last working vineyard.

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The Salt
6:37 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Bouillabaisse: From Humble Beginnings To High-Class Tourist Meal

The ingredients for a vrai bouillaibaisse at Le Miramar in Marseille, France.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

The southern French city of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea has long been famous for its spicy fish soup, known as bouillabaisse. The soup started as a poor man's meal, made with leftover fish scraps, but these days, it's evolved to the point that it can run connoisseurs about $75 for a generously sized meal.

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Africa
3:28 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Tunisians Battle Over The Meaning Of Free Expression

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

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:14 pm

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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Europe
5:06 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Poverty, Segregation Fuel Marseille Crime Wave

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

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 5:51 pm

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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Africa
6:56 am
Tue September 18, 2012

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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Europe
8:16 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Violence Seizes French Port City

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Europe
6:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

France To Hollande: Time To Get To Work

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The president of France, Francois Hollande, has just passed 100 days in office. Mr. Hollande swept to victory in a wave of discontent aimed at former President Nicolas Sarkozy. But now, there are concerns that the new president's slow, cautious manner may not be suited to solving some of the challenges facing his country. Eleanor Beardsley sends us this report from Paris.

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Europe
1:50 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

On Denmark's Summer Nights, Tivoli Gardens Beckon

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

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 4:17 pm

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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Europe
4:23 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Norway To Issue Report On 2011 Shooting Rampage

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
4:04 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Outsourced Croissants Outrage Traditional French Bakers

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

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:07 am

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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Europe
1:51 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

In France, The (Abandoned) Dog Days Of Summer

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

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:33 pm

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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Europe
7:29 am
Sat June 30, 2012

French President Inserts New Voice In EU Summit

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Movies
12:03 am
Thu June 28, 2012

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

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.

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 12:34 pm

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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Europe
4:49 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

French First Lady Sets Country A-Twitter

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

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 8:16 pm

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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Africa
5:18 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Moderates Worry Tunisia Is Becoming More Conservative

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 6:16 am

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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Africa
2:48 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Some Taboos Vanish In Tunisia, Replaced By Others

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

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 2:49 am

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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World
4:22 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

As More Move To Cities, A New Take On Urban Design

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 6:34 pm

With 7 billion people expected to live in urban centers by 2050, the stakes are enormous for building them right. There are many things to think about — traffic, trash, water, connectivity and more. Whether you're a new mega city being built in Saudi Arabia or old Liverpool trying to rejuvenate yourself, you face a lot of the same issues. Hundreds of mayors, private sector actors, think tanks and citizens groups convened in Paris this week to share ideas.

Europe
4:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Who Needs Marriage? Not France's New President

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

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 2:42 am

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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Europe
3:07 am
Tue May 1, 2012

In French Election, Candidates Chase Far-Right Votes

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

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 7:35 am

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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Europe
7:41 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Nazi Past Has French Town Wary Of Far-Right Politics

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Voters go to the polls tomorrow in France to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. President Nicolas Sarkozy still trails his socialist opponent Francois Hollande. Mr. Sarkozy has tried to close that gap by appealing to voters on the right. Much of the French campaign this time around focused on right-wing issues like crime, security and immigration.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited a town in France that is still haunted by ghosts of its far-right past, to see what people think about that.

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Europe
6:11 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

In France, Fiery Leftist Candidate Strikes A Nerve

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Front presidential candidate, draws huge crowds, rivaling those of mainstream candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. Here, he delivers a speech during a campaign meeting on April 1 in Grigny, outside Paris.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:06 pm

The French go to the polls Sunday to choose among 10 candidates for president, and opinion surveys suggest the outcome will be a runoff between the two main figures, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

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The Salt
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue

French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to a butcher during a visit to the butchery pavilion at the Rungis international food market, near Paris, in February.
Anna Maria Jakub Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:29 pm

A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.

It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

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Europe
12:01 am
Wed February 29, 2012

For Leap Day Only, A Rare Newspaper Goes To Print

A man reads a copy of the satirical newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper's Candle), published every leap day, in a Parisian cafe on Feb. 29, 2008. The paper's tagline is "without reproach."
Patrick Hertzog AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

At newsstands across France on Wednesday, readers will delight to a humorous broadsheet published every four years on leap day.

At news shops in Paris and around France, readers look forward to their copy of La Bougie du Sapeur every Feb. 29. Published since 1980, the satirical journal is now in its ninth edition. Its title, which translates as "sapper's candle," is taken from an old French comic-book figure who was born on that fateful last day of February.

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