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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12:01am

Wed February 29, 2012
Europe

For Leap Day Only, A Rare Newspaper Goes To Print

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

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

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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5:28am

Sun February 26, 2012
Europe

Will France's First Lady Be Able To Seduce Voters?

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:20 am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, greet supporters during a campaign rally in Marseille, France, on Feb. 19.
Patrick Aventurier Getty Images

In the traditional world of French politics, spouses don't usually jump into the fray. But French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is anything but a traditional political spouse.

Her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, has just announced he is running for re-election this spring. It's a challenge: Polls show him trailing the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's wife has promised to do everything she can to help her husband win — and that includes hitting the campaign trail.

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8:00am

Sun February 12, 2012
Europe

Sarkozy's Re-Election On The Backburner

France is holding a presidential election in the spring, and the campaign is in full swing, sort of. The only thing missing is one of the candidates: President Nicolas Sarkozy. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he hasn't yet announced whether he's running for re-election.

4:50pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Politics

On The Trail, Romney Avoids His French Connection

Mitt Romney with his then fiancee, Ann (right), and Romney's parents, in Washington, D.C., in 1969. Romney had returned from Mormon missionary work in France the previous year.
JH AP

Mitt Romney waxed eloquent in French as he promoted the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, calling the two years he spent as a young man in France an "enriching experience."

But now that he's running for president of the United States, Romney doesn't talk a lot about his time as a Mormon missionary in France.

"Voilà," says Philippe Brillaut, as he points to the site of what would be France's first Mormon temple.

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5:57am

Sun January 29, 2012
Religion

On The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

Though marginal, the de-baptism movement is growing, observers say.
iStockphoto.com

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier's parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

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4:06pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Europe

At The Louvre, A Rare Showcase For American Art

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:03 pm

An exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris explores American landscape painting. Here, the museum's director, Henri Loyrette, looks at the oil paintings of Thomas Cole (1801-1848), known for his realistic and detailed works.
Francois Mori AP

The Louvre had a record 9 million visitors last year, and about 10 percent of them were American. Yet the iconic Paris art museum only has four American paintings in its huge permanent collection.

But the Louvre's curators want to change that and heighten the public's knowledge and awareness of early American art with a new exhibit.

Nationwide, French museums own some 2,000 American paintings, but those Whistlers, Homers and Cassatts are exhibited in more modern museums such as the Musee d'Orsay.

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1:51pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Salt

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:41 pm

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Europe

French Dilemma: How To Burn Off All That Overtime?

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 8:32 am

France's 35-hour work week has resulted in some workers accumulating vast amounts of overtime that they are required to use this year. The problem is particularly acute at some hospitals. Here a woman speaks with a doctor at the Conception Hospital in Marseille on Tuesday.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

France's 35-hour work week has plenty of critics who say it has sapped the country of its competitiveness and is tying companies in knots. And to make their case, a leading example is the current state of overtime at French hospitals.

Along with five weeks of annual leave, French employees get time off if they work more than 35 hours in a week. At the Hopital Vaugirard, a public hospital in central Paris, employees have accumulated more than 2 million days off in the past decade.

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6:00am

Sat January 14, 2012
Europe

AAA No More: Credit Downgrade Hits France

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 2:12 pm

The loss of France's AAA credit rating is likely to play a role in President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election bid.
Charles Platiau AP

Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign debt of France, Italy, Spain and six other European countries on Friday. The move was highly expected, but it's still a blow to France and sending shock waves across Europe. France is the eurozone's second-largest economy, and its downgrade could even threaten Europe's master plan to stop its debt crisis.

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4:40pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Europe

Fears Grow Over Faulty French-Made Breast Implants

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:27 pm

French-made breast implants produced by the Poly Implant Prothese company have been found to be faulty and are at the heart of a growing health scandal.
Sebastien Nogier AFP/Getty Images

A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.

The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.

French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.

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