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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Religion
3:57 am
Sun January 29, 2012

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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Europe
2:06 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

At The Louvre, A Rare Showcase For American Art

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

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 5:03 pm

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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The Salt
11:51 am
Tue January 24, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 3:41 pm

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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Europe
10:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

French Dilemma: How To Burn Off All That Overtime?

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

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 6:32 am

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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Europe
4:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

AAA No More: Credit Downgrade Hits France

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

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

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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Europe
2:40 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Fears Grow Over Faulty French-Made Breast Implants

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

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 4:27 pm

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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Europe
6:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Debt Crisis Just History In The Making To Some French

These are gloomy times for debt-burdened France, but in the countryside some are taking a longer view. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

Europe
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

French Parliament Moves To Ban Prostitution

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the middle of a debt crisis and with a French presidential election looming, lawmakers from the left and right found something to agree on: prostitution. After years of taking a relaxed approach to prostitution, France may be about to outlaw the practice - not on the seller's part, but on the buyer's. Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
4:01 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Merkel, Sarkozy Meet Ahead Of Brussels Summit

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 12:04 pm

As European leaders prepare for yet another "last-ditch" effort to save the euro at a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the two eurozone powerhouses, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meet in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley talks about their meeting.

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Europe
1:00 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Sarkozy Lays Foundation For Reshaping The Eurozone

During a speech delivered Thursday in Toulon, France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be announcing new measures to guarantee the future of Europe.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 8:14 pm

In a highly anticipated speech Thursday night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy laid the groundwork for tighter French-German cooperation.

He made an ambitious call for a rewrite of European treaties, but his speech — billed as his last-ditch plan to save the euro — offered no concrete emergency measures to contain Europe's debt crisis.

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Africa
6:14 am
Sun October 23, 2011

Tunisians Wake To Their Very First Election Day

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 5:20 pm

Tunisians are voting Sunday in the country's first free and democratic election. The small North African nation was the first to overthrow its dictator last January in a popular movement that soon spread to other authoritarian Arab nations.

Now, analysts say what happens in Tunisia will be key to whether democracy is to take root across the rest of the Arab world.

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Africa
3:16 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring

A Tunisian woman in the capital, Tunis, walks past a wall covered with posters of political candidates, on Oct. 20. Tunisia touched off the Arab uprisings this year, and it is holding elections Sunday to draw up a new constitution.

Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 7:42 pm

Tunisians, who touched off the Arab uprisings and rid themselves of a dictator nine months ago, are now going to the polls to elect a constitutional assembly. There is pride, confusion, but mostly optimism ahead of Sunday's vote.

The people of Tunisia had basically one choice at the ballot box for the last 50 years. But now they have more than 100 parties and thousands of candidates to choose from. And they're getting a taste of a real political campaign.

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Europe
2:59 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

French Feminists Say 'Non' To 'Mademoiselle'

In France, feminists are trying to do away with the word mademoiselle, which they see as separating women into two categories — married and unmarried — in a manner men aren't subjected to.
Thurston Hopkins Getty Images

Feminists in France say the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal has forced the country to confront longstanding sexist attitudes. Buoyed by this new awareness, they are now taking on what they see as one of the most entrenched, if not discreet, barriers to gender equality in France: the word "mademoiselle."

In France, when you fill out a form — whether it's a job application or a parking citation — if you're a woman, you have to choose between madame and mademoiselle.

Too bad if you feel your marital status is nobody's business, there's simply no French equivalent of "Ms."

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Europe
5:53 am
Sat August 6, 2011

The French Are Getting Fatter, Too

Restaurants line a street of the Quartier Latin in central Paris.
Bertrand Guay AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:00 pm

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

As the United States struggles to cope with obesity rates, France is often looked to as a counterexample. Yet obesity is on the rise there as well now, and though French culinary traditions are often credited with keeping people trim, some worry those eating habits are under assault.

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Europe
3:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Some Worry French Military Stretched Too Thin

France has been engaged on numerous military fronts this year as the country's armed forces back up President Nicolas Sarkozy's active foreign policy. The French military's quick success in ousting Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was lauded, but other interventions — like the one in Libya — drag on, leaving many to wonder if public support and the country's budget will be able to keep pace.

Analysts say the French military is in crisis, strained by restructuring and budget cuts, and tested by three simultaneous conflicts abroad.

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