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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Business
5:02 am
Thu June 13, 2013

French Air Traffic Controllers Strike Disrupts Flights

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:56 am

French air traffic controllers are back in their towers. They had been on strike for two days — forcing the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights. But the issues at stake remain unresolved and affect the entire continent. They center on plans to reorganize and streamline the control of European airspace.

The Salt
4:21 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 2:46 pm

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
1:10 pm
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 5:02 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
3:47 am
Mon May 27, 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 7:47 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
4:55 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 4:13 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
4:28 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 8:00 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
10:37 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 8:55 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
2:57 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Bombing Suspects' Chechen Roots Weigh Heavy On Nation' Refugees

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 4:01 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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Arts & Life
3:48 pm
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 7:30 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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NPR Story
4:26 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Large Police Presence Surrounds Margaret Thatcher's Funeral

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 9:22 pm

Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest in a funeral attended by dignitaries from around the globe as well as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on Wednesday. It's the first funeral of a British politician attended by the Queen since Sir Winston Churchill's in 1965.

Europe
2:04 am
Fri March 29, 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 10:14 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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Arts & Life
3:59 pm
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 5:49 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
11:19 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 7:01 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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Arts & Life
3:57 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 9:30 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
2:40 am
Wed February 13, 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 5:24 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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