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.
Regional elections in France this June will indicate the relative strength of the country's political parties ahead of next year's presidential election. The far right appears to be gaining.
As France lifts its lockdown and welcomes vaccinated visitors from the EU and America, a new museum opens in the center of Paris that features contemporary African American artists.
The scene, which was filmed, shows President Emmanuel Macron working a rope line. While shaking Macron's hand, a man is able to slap his face before security intervenes.
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.
Adama Traoré was 24 when he was detained and died in police custody in France in 2016. His sister, who has been protesting the death, has been sued for defamation by the three officers involved.
The French Senate passed an amendment that would make it illegal for girls to wear the religious veil worn by Muslim women. The measure will likely fail when up for debate in the National Assembly.
A report by historians has concluded the French government was not complicit in the Rwanda genocide of 1994 — but turned a blind eye to it and so bears overwhelming responsibility.
"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.
President Emmanuel Macron, in a televised address to the nation, said he was left with no choice as deaths approach 100,000 and the country's hospitals are overwhelmed.
The world's oldest ballet company is undergoing a racial reckoning. The Paris Opera Ballet is working to update racist stereotypes and increase diversity.