Eleanor Beardsley

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in June 2004, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy.

In the spring of 2007, Beardsley covered the French presidential campaign and election of President Nicholas Sarkozy, and has been busy following his flurry of activity and reforms since then. 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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4:21pm

Wed April 23, 2014
Europe

Moscow Answers Ukrainian Offensive With Warning Of Its Own

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned today that his country would respond if its citizens or interests came under attack in Ukraine. The warning came as the interim Ukrainian government ordered a new offensive against pro-Moscow militants occupying government buildings across Eastern Ukraine. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Donetsk.

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4:16pm

Tue April 22, 2014
News

Amid Ukraine's Faltering Hopes For Peace, Biden Speaks In Kiev

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Vice President Joe Biden warned Russia today that it must join in efforts to reduce tensions in Ukraine. Biden was in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, and it looks like last week's international agreement to disarm militant groups in that country is failing. Ukrainian president says the security service will resume an anti-terrorist operation following the discovery of two bodies in eastern Ukraine. The operation had been suspended after the agreement in Geneva.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley joins us from Donetsk.

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4:16pm

Mon April 21, 2014
News

Eastern Ukraine Town Sent Reeling After Checkpoint Killings

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

The killing of three people at a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk has increased tension in the town, where a government building is being occupied by pro-Moscow militants.

8:07am

Sun April 20, 2014
Europe

Ukraine's Divide, Too Broad For Easter To Bridge?

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 11:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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5:09pm

Sat April 19, 2014
World

Despite Easter 'Truce,' Standoff In Ukraine Appears Steadfast

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 6:28 pm

In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the opposing camps seem increasingly entrenched, despite a diplomatic effort to ease tensions. Pro-Russian forces refuse to leave occupied buildings and public squares in the east. It's an uneasy Easter weekend and neither side is willing to budge.

11:22am

Sun April 6, 2014
Europe

Both Sides Dig In Their Heels Over Crimea Crisis

Originally published on Sun April 6, 2014 1:49 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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12:00pm

Sun March 23, 2014
Europe

A Culture Of Unchecked Abuse Thrives In Ukraine And Crimea

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 1:02 pm

Last week, a YouTube video of a far-right member of Ukraine's parliament roughing up the top executive of the state television network went viral.
Eurovision/YouTube

Since the upheaval in Ukraine began four months ago, the number of kidnappings of journalists and activists has been on the rise, though they've always been part of the Ukrainian political landscape.

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4:36pm

Thu March 20, 2014
News

As Russia And The West Trade Shots Across The Bow, Kiev Looks On

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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4:31am

Thu March 20, 2014
Europe

For Crimea, Split From Ukraine Would Be Complicated And Costly

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:37 am

Crimea is a poor region, heavily subsidized by Kiev, and gets all its gas, water and food from Ukraine. Russia doesn't even have a land link with the Crimean peninsula and absorbing it will affect banks, schools, tourism and pensions for residents.

4:20pm

Mon March 17, 2014
News

Kiev Mobilizes Thousands Of Troops, Preparing For Worst

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 pm

The Ukrainian parliament has voted to mobilize 40,000 reservists as Kiev tries to beef up its military following the referendum in Crimea.

5:07am

Mon March 17, 2014
World

Crimeans Vote To Leave Ukraine, Join Russia

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 11:59 am

Crimeans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Morning Edition checks in with NPR's Gregory Warner in Simferopol and Eleanor Beardsley in Kiev for the latest.

4:06pm

Fri March 14, 2014
Europe

With All Eyes On The East, A Seige Mentality Settles On Kiev

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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8:00am

Sun February 9, 2014
Animals

France Takes A Stand, Crushing Ivory Beneath The Eiffel Tower

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 11:44 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR NEW. I'm Rachel Martin.

This past week, France became the first European country to destroy illegal ivory in a high profile public demonstration. It did so underneath the Eiffel Tower as part of a global effort to call attention to the illicit ivory trade. Officials say the trade not only wipes out the world's population of elephants, it also funds terrorism.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

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5:12pm

Tue January 14, 2014
Africa

On Third Anniversary, Tunisians May Get A Constitution

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Arab Spring that brought those changes to Egypt began in Tunisia, exactly three years ago today. Tunisians overthrew their dictator, prompting a wave of uprisings across the region. But three years on, lawmakers are still struggling to ratify a new constitution and lay the foundations of their country's future. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Tunis and sent this report.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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9:56am

Sun January 12, 2014
Middle East

New Constitution Is A Sign Of Tunisia's Optimism

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:41 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

On Tuesday, Tunisia will celebrate the third anniversary of its revolution. Tunisia is the country that inspired uprisings across the Arab world. Since then, that country has gone through tough times but it seems to have found its way again. Opposing sides have drafted the new constitution together. It will be ready in a couple days, and new elections are set for this year. That sets Tunisia apart from neighboring Egypt and Libya, where the Arab Spring uprisings have brought violence and political upheaval.

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5:07am

Wed December 25, 2013
Europe

Nativity Scenes Liven Centuries-Old French Village

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The medieval village of Flavigny, France has livened up its winter streets with nativity scenes, 85 of them exhibited in windows of houses throughout the town. This centuries-old village has been doing this for five years now and it's bringing in crowds of tourists.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley was one of them and she sent us this Christmas postcard.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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8:23am

Sun December 15, 2013
Europe

Why French Troops Are Intervening In Africa — Again

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 2:19 pm

A French soldier talks to a crowd outside a church in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Thursday.
Jerome Delay AP

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

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5:47pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Art & Design

Royal Gardener Planted The Seed Of Urban Planning At Versailles

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Andre Le Notre pumped in water from the Seine River to create the Grand Canal at Chateau of Versailles.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

France's Chateau of Versailles has pulled out all the stops for one of its favorite sons, gardener Andre Le Notre, who designed the palace's famous gardens. This year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Le Notre's birth, several of the garden's fountains are being restored and the chateau is hosting an exhibit on his life through February 2014.

Experts say Le Notre's work was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture.

'The Interlocutor Of Kings'

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8:40am

Fri November 22, 2013
Parallels

As Inequality Grows, Swiss To Vote On Curbing Executive Pay

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Members of the Swiss trade union Unia, supporting a referendum to limit the pay of executives to 12 times that of a company's lowest-paid employee, demonstrate in Zurich in August.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Switzerland may be known for watches, wealth and secretive bank accounts, but increasingly people believe that not everyone is reaping their share of the country's economic well-being.

So on Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would limit a CEO's pay to 12 times that of the company's lowest-paid worker.

The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to turn the measure, known as the 1:12 initiative, into a national referendum.

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2:58am

Fri November 15, 2013
Parallels

In France, Some Ask If Racism Is On The Rise

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:07 pm

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has been the object of several racist taunts since she defended the government's gay marriage bill in parliament this spring. She is shown here at the Socialist Party's "Universite d'ete" in La Rochelle, in August.
Stephane Mahe Reuters/Landov

For the past week or so, France has been deep in debate, wondering if there's a resurgence of an old colonial racism, or if people have just become more tolerant of bigots.

The questions stem from a series of race-based taunts against Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who is black. Many of the statements seem to stem from Taubira's championing of the country's gay marriage legalization, which was signed into law in May.

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4:36pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Parallels

France Rethinks The Sanctity Of Its Day Of Rest

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:34 pm

A woman walks amid both open and closed shops during a Sunday morning stroll at the Butte Montmartre in Paris, in July. Under France's Byzantine rules on Sunday trading, shops at the top of the hill are in a designated tourist area and so can open, but those at the bottom cannot.
Christian Hartmann Reuters/Landov

There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.

But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.

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4:54am

Thu November 7, 2013
Parallels

Camus' Stance On Algeria Still Stokes Debate In France

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:56 pm

Algeria-born Albert Camus poses for a portrait in Paris following the announcement that he is being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Camus' views on his birthplace still stoke controversy.
AFP/Getty Images

A hundred years after his birth, French writer-philosopher Albert Camus is perhaps best-remembered for novels like The Stranger and The Plague, and for his philosophy of absurdism.

But it's another aspect of his intellectual body of work that's under scrutiny as France marks the Camus centennial: his views about his native Algeria.

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4:21am

Mon October 14, 2013
Media

Readers Lament 'International Herald Tribune' Name Change

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The International Herald Tribune is about to change its name. In these difficult days for print journalism, fans of the Paris-based English newspaper are grateful that it's still being published. But the change is prompting a good bit of nostalgia.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris explains why.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

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3:35am

Mon September 23, 2013
The Salt

Got Baguettes? Bakers' Lobby Tells France To Eat More Bread

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 11:32 am

Baguettes head into a giant oven at Le Grenier a Pain Bakery.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

The French, it seems, aren't eating bread the way they used to. The average French person consumes just half a baguette a day, down from a full baguette 40 years ago.

Those statistics worry the French bakers' lobby, the Observatoire du Pain.

Bernard Vallius, who heads the group, says it used to be that people ate a sit-down lunch and dinner with family or friends every day. Now people — especially the young and those who live in cities — eat sandwiches or skip lunch altogether and snack, he says.

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3:59am

Thu September 19, 2013
Europe

France Moves To Ban Kids Under 16 From Beauty Pageants

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The French Senate voted to ban beauty pageants for children under 16. The measure is part of a larger bill on women's rights.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that lawmakers see this move as a way to protect the young from being sexualized.

(SOUNDBITE OF A DOCUMENT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (French spoken)

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5:37pm

Sat September 14, 2013
Animals

In France's Camargue, Bulls Are A Passion And A Way Of Life

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 8:00 pm

The black, long-horned Camargue bull is just one of two breeds of fighting bulls in Europe. The bulls are shown here at the Roman arena in Arles, southern France.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Amid streaks of lightning and startling thunder claps on a recent day, I head out into the middle of the marshy wetlands known as the Camargue. I'm with a group of tourists, piled on hay bales in the back of a flatbed trailer pulled by a massive tractor.

The delta in southern France where two branches of the Rhone River meet the sea, the Camargue is the biggest Mediterranean delta after the Nile. The stunning ecosystem is home to pink flamingos, rice paddies and salt, which has been harvested here since the Middle Ages.

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7:00am

Sat September 14, 2013
Technology

New Computer School Makes French Students Teach Themselves

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:25 pm

Xavier Niel, the French Internet billionaire and founder of the Internet provider Free, reacts after delivering his speech in January 2012. Niel has founded a new computer school in Paris named 42.
Jacques Brinon AP

A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.

The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.

In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.

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4:45am

Mon September 2, 2013
Race

Paris Has Been A Haven For African Americans Escaping Racism

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 4:53 am

The City Of Lights became known as a beacon of freedom and tolerance for African Americans. Paris is rich in black history — especially from black Americans who have flocked there since the 19th century.

5:21pm

Sat August 31, 2013
World

While Britain Votes No, France Still Backs Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 10:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

The U.S. will not be acting alone if and when it launches military strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. French President Francois Hollande spoke with President Obama today. France and the U.S. will act together after congressional discussions.

As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, this Franco-American alliance is a complete turnabout from the lead up to the war in Iraq 10 years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE)

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6:39pm

Mon August 19, 2013
Europe

Relying On Old Artisan Ways, French Brand Makes Itself Anew

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 6:58 pm

Moynat was renowned for products such as the lightweight wicker trunk named Malle Anglaise, or English trunk, which was invented in 1873. This trunk was subsequently improved and a new patent filed in 1889.
Courtesy of Moynat

Founded in the mid-19th century, French luxury leather goods maker Moynat became renowned for making traveling trunks for the moneyed set. Though a pioneer in its field, it fell on hard times and closed its doors in the 1970s.

These days, the fabled company is undergoing a resurrection — turning out limited quantities of luxurious, handmade bags that rely on centuries-old craftsmanship.

On a recent day, Moynat's CEO, Guillaume Davin, leads me up the back stairs of the company's flagship boutique in Paris.

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