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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3:37am

Thu January 9, 2014
Europe

No Rain On His Parade: Parisian Preserves Art Of Umbrella Repair

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:21 am

An estimated 15 million umbrellas are thrown away in France each year. Thierry Millet is trying to change that, one umbrella repair at a time.
Lejeune Maxppp /Landov

When an umbrella breaks, most people just throw it away — and pick up another one, from a street vendor or maybe a drugstore.

But what if you got it repaired instead? Would you even be able to find someone who could do the work?

In Paris, it's still possible, but just barely. What was once a thriving profession has dwindled dramatically. These days, Thierry Millet, 58, says he is the city's last umbrella repairman.

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3:04am

Wed January 1, 2014
Media

In Troubled Magazine World, 'La Hulotte' Is One Rare Bird

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

Pierre Deom has been writing and illustrating La Hulotte since 1972. He released his 100th issue (lower right) in November.
Francois Nascimbeni AFP/Getty Images

The journalism world may be in crisis, but one magazine in France has been steadily gaining subscribers for 40 years. It's a nature journal called La Hulotte, and twice a year it focuses on an animal or plant indigenous to the French countryside. The magazine published its 100th issue in November. It has more than 150,000 subscribers in many countries and is doing terrific financially.

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4:38pm

Mon December 30, 2013
Sports

Formula One Driver Schumacher Remains In Coma After Ski Crash

The world's most successful Formula One driver, Michael Schumacher, remains in a medically-induced coma. The seven-time world champion was injured in a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday, and underwent emergency brain surgery overnight. The German driver, now retired from racing, was skiing with his son when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He sustained severe head injuries on a rock, even though he was wearing a helmet at the time.

8:23am

Sun December 15, 2013
Europe

Why French Troops Are Intervening In Africa — Again

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 2:19 pm

A French soldier talks to a crowd outside a church in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Thursday.
Jerome Delay AP

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

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5:47pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Art & Design

Royal Gardener Planted The Seed Of Urban Planning At Versailles

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Andre Le Notre pumped in water from the Seine River to create the Grand Canal at Chateau of Versailles.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

France's Chateau of Versailles has pulled out all the stops for one of its favorite sons, gardener Andre Le Notre, who designed the palace's famous gardens. This year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Le Notre's birth, several of the garden's fountains are being restored and the chateau is hosting an exhibit on his life through February 2014.

Experts say Le Notre's work was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture.

'The Interlocutor Of Kings'

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4:33am

Fri November 22, 2013
Business

As Inequality Grows, Swiss To Vote On Curbing Executive Pay

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Members of the Swiss trade union Unia, supporting a referendum to limit the pay of executives to 12 times that of a company's lowest-paid employee, demonstrate in Zurich in August.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Switzerland may be known for watches, wealth and secretive bank accounts, but increasingly people believe that not everyone is reaping their share of the country's economic well-being.

So on Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would limit a CEO's pay to 12 times that of the company's lowest-paid worker.

The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to turn the measure, known as the 1:12 initiative, into a national referendum.

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2:58am

Fri November 15, 2013
Parallels

In France, Some Ask If Racism Is On The Rise

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:07 pm

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has been the object of several racist taunts since she defended the government's gay marriage bill in parliament this spring. She is shown here at the Socialist Party's "Universite d'ete" in La Rochelle, in August.
Stephane Mahe Reuters/Landov

For the past week or so, France has been deep in debate, wondering if there's a resurgence of an old colonial racism, or if people have just become more tolerant of bigots.

The questions stem from a series of race-based taunts against Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who is black. Many of the statements seem to stem from Taubira's championing of the country's gay marriage legalization, which was signed into law in May.

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4:33pm

Mon November 11, 2013
Parallels

Will The French Really Pay More for 'Made in France'?

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:52 pm

French Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg attends the Made in France fair in Paris on Saturday. According to a poll, more than 70 percent of the French say they would pay more for goods made at home.
Alain Jocard AFP/Getty Images

The French economy suffers from many ailments: weak growth, high unemployment, poor competitiveness and a general sense of economic gloom. And every proposed government remedy seems to be met by protests from one corner or another.

Yet no one seems to be arguing with a little injection of economic patriotism.

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4:36pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Parallels

France Rethinks The Sanctity Of Its Day Of Rest

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:34 pm

A woman walks amid both open and closed shops during a Sunday morning stroll at the Butte Montmartre in Paris, in July. Under France's Byzantine rules on Sunday trading, shops at the top of the hill are in a designated tourist area and so can open, but those at the bottom cannot.
Christian Hartmann Reuters/Landov

There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.

But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.

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3:00am

Thu November 7, 2013
Parallels

Camus' Stance On Algeria Still Stokes Debate In France

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:56 pm

Algeria-born Albert Camus poses for a portrait in Paris following the announcement that he is being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Camus' views on his birthplace still stoke controversy.
AFP/Getty Images

A hundred years after his birth, French writer-philosopher Albert Camus is perhaps best-remembered for novels like The Stranger and The Plague, and for his philosophy of absurdism.

But it's another aspect of his intellectual body of work that's under scrutiny as France marks the Camus centennial: his views about his native Algeria.

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