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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1:13pm

Sun June 29, 2014
Europe

In Paris, Training Wheels For The Littlest Riders

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 3:58 pm

Not quite 3 years old, Oscar Bayeda is just learning to ride with the help of P'tit Velib's bike-sharing program for children.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

A bike rental scheme in Paris that began seven years ago has been such a success, the city has launched a version for children. Parents can now rent bikes for tots up to 8 years old at locations across the city.

Officials say the program won't cost Paris a cent and might help build a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens — or perhaps inspire a few future Tour de France champions.

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2:42pm

Thu June 19, 2014
Parallels

Brutal Vigilante Attack On Roma Teen Shocks France

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:12 pm

Women from the Roma community push a shopping trolley containing water toward their camp in Sucy-en-Brie, near Paris, in a photo from 2012.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

A vigilante attack against a Roma teenager has shocked France and put pressure on the French government to improve conditions for the ethnic minority. Human rights advocates say the rise of a xenophobic climate in the country may have contributed to the attack.

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5:28am

Wed June 18, 2014
Business

As Exasperation Mounts, French Rail Strike Turns Violent

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:09 am

The French rail strike has enters it second week and train workers have clashed with riot police in Paris. The latest poll shows the striking train drivers are losing public support.

4:13pm

Fri June 6, 2014
News

Allies Land Again In Normandy, This Time To Honor D-Day Vets

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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7:46am

Sun June 1, 2014
Europe

Le Pen Victory In France Presents A Paradox For Hollande

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 12:47 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Far-right political parties won big in European parliamentary elections in many countries last weekend. Their victory was particularly painful in France, a founding member of the European Union, and has deepened the sense of crisis for the very unpopular Socialist president, Francois Hollande. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

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5:01am

Fri May 23, 2014
Business

France's Big Train Problem: New Fleet Too Wide For Platforms

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 7:52 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Somewhere in Paris, railways executives must be cursing in French. They ordered $4 billion worth of new trains. Turns out the trains are be too big to fit in many French train stations around the countries. Sacre bleu.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN WHISTLE)

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Gleaming trains from across France pull into this Paris station. The decade-long modernization and expansion program is designed to handle the huge rise in passenger traffic across France.

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3:05am

Tue May 13, 2014
Parallels

The French Ask: Should We Be Building Warships For Russia?

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 9:57 am

The Vladivostok warship, a Mistral class LHD amphibious vessel ordered by Russia, at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on Friday. The Vladivostok is one of two ships Russia ordered from France.
Jean-Sebastien Evrard AFP/Getty Images

French President Francois Hollande says that for now, France intends to go through with a deal to build two warships for the Russian navy. The first of the Mistral-class assault vessels is supposed to be delivered in October.

The $1.6 billion deal is the biggest sale to Russia ever by a NATO country. And three years ago, when the contract was signed, French officials hailed it as a sign that Moscow should be considered a partner, not an enemy. Still, there were critics among NATO allies even then.

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5:02pm

Thu May 1, 2014
Europe

France's Far-Right's High Hopes On May Day Display

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Hundreds of supporters of France's far-right National Front political party attend the party's annual May Day rally in front of the Paris Opera on Thursday.
Charles Platiau Reuters/Landov

Decked out in red, white and blue clothing, and waving flags and banners, thousands of supporters of the far-right National Front party marched through central Paris on Thursday — known as May Day or International Workers Day — to hear charismatic leader Marine Le Pen. The traditional gathering began, as always, at a gilded statue of Joan of Arc, where Le Pen laid a wreath.

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5:43pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Europe

In The City Of Love, There's No Love Lost For Tourists' Love Locks

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:40 pm

Couples stand on the Pont des Arts, Paris' iconic footbridge over the Seine river, where thousands upon thousands of padlocks bearing love messages are attached to the railing, on Aug. 30, 2013.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Bearing messages ranging from the inspiring to the insipid, "love locks" can be found clamped onto bridges in major cities around the world. But no place has it worse than Paris, where the padlocks cover old bridges in a kind of urban barnacle, climbing up every free surface.

Take the Pont des Arts, Paris' most famous footbridge across the Seine river. Hundreds of thousands of padlocks cover its old iron railings; the light of day barely passes through them.

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4:53pm

Thu April 24, 2014
Europe

Firefights And Fallen Separatists, As Ukraine Offensive Advances

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:17 pm

Early Thursday morning, the Ukrainian military moved into towns held by militants. Firefights and casualties have been reported at a number of different locations.

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