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
3:04 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 11:14 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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Europe
5:33 am
Sun March 24, 2013

New Bells Chime With Modern Pitch At Notre Dame Cathedral

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 11:15 am

For its 850th anniversary, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is getting new bells. Nearly all of its bells date from an 1856 renovation. Experts say the 19th century bells toll off key. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports the new bells will join one original bell, known as Emmanuel, which remains in the south tower.

Europe
4:43 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 6:49 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
12:19 pm
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 8:01 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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Africa
5:47 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 10:30 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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Europe
5:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Airport Diamond Thieves May Have Had Inside Help

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:21 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

Authorities in Belgium have an expensive mystery to solve. Last night, on the Brussels airport tarmac, masked gunmen attacked an armored vehicle as it was loading diamonds onto a plane. They made off with an estimated $50 million worth of uncut diamonds.

As we hear from NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, the attack was meticulously planned, leading some to believe the thieves had help from the inside.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWSCAST)

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Africa
4:18 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

The Dark Side To French-African Ties

President Francois Hollande's visit to Mali, after French troops routed Islamist extremists, brings to mind France's long relationship with its former colonies in Africa. African troops helped France and the allies defeat Hitler's forces, and Hollande expressed gratitude for that while he was in Mali. But there's also a dark side to the French-African connection.

Africa
3:40 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 6:24 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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Africa
5:26 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Political Crisis Deepens In Tunisia

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 6:52 am

The crisis in Tunisia deepened over the weekend when a secular political party withdrew from the Islamist-led coalition government. The crisis erupted last week when a secular politician and human rights advocate was gunned down outside his home in Tunis.

World
12:28 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Chaos Follows Funeral For Slain Leader In Tunisia

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We want to go live now to the nation of Tunisia, where tens of thousands of people turned out today for the funeral of an assassinated opposition leader. Political tensions turned violent as young men clashed with police. The scene was a reminder of the precariousness of the situation in Tunisia - two years after the Arab Spring revolution began there. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was at the funeral and joins me on the line. And Eleanor, what was the scene at this funeral? What did you see?

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