Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.
Beardsley has been an active part of NPR's coverage of terrorist attacks in Paris and in Brussels. She has also followed the migrant crisis, traveling to meet and report on arriving refugees in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Sweden and France. She has also traveled to Ukraine, including the flashpoint eastern city of Donetsk, to report on the war there, and to Athens, to follow the Greek debt crisis.
In 2011, Beardsley covered the first Arab Spring revolution in Tunisia, where she witnessed the overthrow of the autocratic President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Since then she has returned to the North African country many times.
In France, Beardsley has covered three presidential elections, including the surprising win by outsider Emmanuel Macron in 2017. Less than two years later, Macron's presidency was severely tested by France's Yellow vest movement, which Beardsley followed closely.
Beardsley especially enjoys historical topics and has covered several anniversaries of the Normandy D-day invasion as well as the centennial of World War I.
In sports, Beardsley closely covered the Women's World Soccer Cup held in France in June 2019 (and won by Team USA!) and regularly follows the Tour de France cycling race.
Prior to moving to Paris, Beardsley worked for three years with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. She also worked as a television news producer for French broadcaster TF1 in Washington, D.C., and as a staff assistant to South Carolina Sen. 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. "I love reporting on the French because there are so many stereotypes about them in America," she says. "Sometimes it's fun to dispel the false notions and show a different side of the Gallic character. 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, South Carolina, and a master's 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.
Its jasmine and roses are prized by perfumers and those eager to learn the trade. But the French Riviera town of Grasse didn't always smell sweet. Centuries ago, it was known for leather tanneries.
The Nov. 13, 2015, attacks on the Bataclan theater and elsewhere killed 130 and injured hundreds. "From then on, everybody felt vulnerable," says a victims' advocate. The trial will last nine months.
Gibert Jeune, which held a prominent place in Parisians hearts, is one of the latest to close. The pandemic is only one pressure on independent bookstores, but some have found ways to survive.
"Once you pass through the door, there's no more COVID," a man told a visitor to one exclusive pop-up dining spot. The high-priced menu included Champagne and foie gras.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been given a three-year prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling.
The French Bakers Association wants the baguette added to the United Nation's list of intangible treasures. A true baguette is a mix of 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt and plenty of time.
Participants in a world sailing race are due to return to France on Wednesday. More people have been to outer space than have completed the Vendee Globe -– a solo competition.
Government officials in France are under fire for the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. The country has one of the highest death tolls from the pandemic in Europe — more than 66,000.
In Europe's most densely populated city of Paris, where there have been two long lockdowns because of the cornavirus, a beloved river is helping many people get through it all.
Europeans, weary of the long Brexit saga, see the final bill of divorce inked on Thursday by European Union and United Kingdom negotiators as a Christmas present.