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.
Colette Maze, now 107, began playing the piano at age 5. She defied the social conventions of her era to embrace music as a profession rather than as a pastime. She has just released her sixth album.
La Maestra, held in Paris this September, is the first fully realized competition solely for women conductors — an effort to help balance a male-dominated field.
April 15 will mark the first anniversary of the fire that ripped through the cathedral. The Paris archbishop says he wants to send a "message of hope" through a small Good Friday service.
In a country that consumes 10 billion baguettes every year, "If the bakeries started closing, people would be unnerved," says Paris baker Tony Doré. His boulangerie now stays open seven days a week.
Twenty patients were transported from the hard-hit eastern region of France, where hospitals are operating at overcapacity, to the western Loire Valley, where facilities still have plenty of beds.
A 73-year-old French woman in confinement in Chamonix recalls her Jewish father, who survived World War II hiding out in a nearby village. Others sent him smoke signals to warn when Nazis were near.
Film director Roman Polanski says he won't attend the French equivalent of the Academy Awards after outrage over his history of sexual abuse. He said the ceremony was turning into a "public lynching."
France's president wants to overhaul the country's retirement systems. Despite strike hassles, a slight majority of the French still support the labor movement against a reform they don't trust.
Facing a weeks-long mass transit strike, French President Emmanuel Macron spelled out his vision for the country in his New Year's Eve address to the nation.
Union protests in France now include cutting off power to some 150,000 customers. President Emmanuel Macron says he is firm in his intention to overhaul the nation's pension system.