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.



Mon November 14, 2011

Carlos The Jackal: On Trial Again, And Still Defiant

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 7:13 am

Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, sits in a Paris courtroom in 2000 with his French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who later became his wife. Carlos is already serving a life sentence, but is on trial again, charged with terrorist bombings in France in the 1980s.
Michel Lipchitz AP

Carlos the Jackal, the man who sowed fear during the Cold War with terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, has now been in prison for close to two decades.

But he's once again on trial in France, and the case has riveted the country.

French television footage showed Carlos being taken to the Palais de Justice in an armored van guarded by policemen darting about with machine guns. In this case, Carlos is accused of masterminding four bomb attacks in France in the early 1980s that killed 11 people and wounded more than 100.

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Wed November 2, 2011

Greek Referendum Plan Sends Sarkozy Scrambling

Just a day before a meeting of the world's top 20 economies in France, Greece stunned the world by announcing it would put a hard-won bailout package agreed upon by Eurozone nations to the test in a popular referendum. The news went down like a lead balloon in European capitals and sent the markets reeling. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, host of the G20, is scrambling to repair the damage, summoning Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to France.


Fri October 28, 2011

Sarkozy Warns France Of More Belt-Tightening Ahead

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am


ARI SHAPIRO, host: And, of course, this crisis stretches far beyond Greece. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went on national television last night to explain his country's part of the deal. He said the French people must expect further belt-tightening measures. Eleanor Beardsley reports that it was a chance for Sarkozy to assert control just six months ahead of a presidential election.


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Tue October 25, 2011

Tunisia Announces Results Of Election

A supporter of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party celebrates on Tuesday at the party's headquarters in Tunis. Ennahda is leading the results of Tunisia's first free and democratic election — though is not expected to win an outright majority.

Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

In Tunisia, a moderate, once-banned Islamist political party is on track to win the country's first free and democratic election — and the first among the countries of the Arab Spring. On Sunday, Tunisians elected a national assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution.

Despite the strong showing by the Islamists, no party is expected to get an absolute majority in the assembly and the new government will likely to be a coalition of secular and religious parties. And that, it appears, is what most Tunisians want.

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Mon October 24, 2011

Tunisia's First Free Election Deemed Success

Tunisians proud of sparking the Arab Spring are now celebrating another first in this long revolutionary season: a free and fair election. After decades of dictatorship, Tunisians happily waited in long lines to cast their votes for a national assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution. Election officials say in some areas the turnout was 90 percent.


Sun October 23, 2011

Tunisians Wake To Their First Free Elections

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 7:20 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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Fri October 21, 2011

Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 9:42 pm

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

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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Wed October 12, 2011

Does Dexia's Collapse Herald A Wider Banking Crisis?

Until now, the eurozone debt crisis has been confined to countries on the continent's periphery — like Greece, Spain and Ireland. But that may be changing with the collapse of a bank at the core of the eurozone. While some call Franco-Belgian lender Dexia's demise an exception, others say it is a wake-up call for all European banks.


Mon October 10, 2011

French, Germans Show Different Attitudes To Crisis

A funny thing about bailouts in Europe: The Germans appear to be worried sick about them, because they'll have to pay. But the French don't seem too concerned, even though they'll be paying too — and they can't afford it.


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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Thu September 22, 2011
Books News & Features

WWII Survivor Stirs Literary World With 'Outrage'

After World War II, Stephane Hessel went on to aid in the drafting of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Indigene editions La Voix de l'Enfant

One of the literary world's unexpected successes over the past year has been a book written by former World War II French resistance fighter Stephane Hessel. In Time for Outrage, Hessel calls for young people to resist the injustices of today's world — and it would seem he's struck a nerve.

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Wed September 14, 2011
NPR Story

Moody's Downgrades Ratings Of 2 French Banks

The downgrade by Moody's Investors Service didn't come as a huge surprise. French banks hold a large amount of Greek debt and their shares have taken a beating in world markets lately. France is at the heart of the eurozone crisis because its banks are some of the most heavily invested in Greek debt.


Sat August 6, 2011

The French Are Getting Fatter, Too

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 7:00 pm

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

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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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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Thu July 14, 2011

Strauss-Kahn's Future In Politics Cloudy

As the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to weaken, many in France are speculating about whether the former head of the International Monetary Fund can revive his political career. New charges in France and the nonstop media coverage of the saga seem to be weighing against him.

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Tue July 5, 2011

Strauss-Kahn To Face New Sex Charges In France

Just as pressure on former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is easing in New York, it is ramping up in Paris. A young novelist, who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her during an interview in 2003, is officially bringing charges against him. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers announced he will counter-sue for defamation of character.


Fri July 1, 2011

For Strauss-Kahn, Fresh Political Hope (Perhaps)

Originally published on Sat July 2, 2011 7:58 am

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves a hearing at New York State Supreme Court on Friday after being released on his own recognizance. Many wonder whether Strauss-Kahn, once a strong contender to become France's next president, can make a political comeback.
Mario Tama Getty Images

France once again woke up to stunning news about Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Because of his accuser's lack of credibility in several areas, New York prosecutors no longer think they have a solid case against the French politician.

Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, had been under house arrest while fighting the charge that he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper in May. Friday, after prosecutors said they had found inconsistencies in his accuser's story, he was released on his own recognizance (though he must stay in the U.S.).

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Fri July 1, 2011

Monaco Welcomes Guests For Royal Wedding

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:41 am

Move over, William and Kate. Monaco will have its own royal wedding when Prince Albert II and his fiancee, Charlene Wittstock, marry this weekend. The pair attended Britain's royal nuptials in April.
Chris Jackson Getty Images

The tiny European territory that lost its beloved Princess Grace in a car crash in 1982 is finally getting a new princess. Prince Albert II of Monaco, 53 and a longtime bachelor, will wed South African Charlene Wittstock over a weekend of royal ceremonies and celebrations.

Monaco hasn't seen an event like this since Albert's mother, Hollywood icon Grace Kelly, married his father, Prince Rainier, 55 years ago.

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Wed June 22, 2011

Volatile Food Prices Grab G-20's Full Attention

Earth from a beet field in northern France hit by drought — the country's worst in 50 years. Crop shortages in Europe and the U.S. have led some experts to predict a rise in grain prices like those that sparked riots in 2008.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Agriculture is topping the G-20 agenda for the first time as agriculture ministers from the world's largest economies gather in Paris beginning Wednesday.

Ever since a dramatic spike in world food prices in 2008 sparked panic and deadly riots in countries across three continents, agriculture and food security have become issues of global, political importance.

And crop shortages this year have some experts already predicting another rise in grain prices like that of 2008.

Crops Hit By Drought

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Mon June 20, 2011

Paris Air Show Features Newcomers, New Technology

The Paris Air Show opened Monday with more than 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries taking part in the week-long event. Most of the attention will be focused on the annual battle between Airbus and Boeing over who will sell the most airliners.


Wed June 1, 2011

In Rich Algeria, Youth Face Meager Future

Clashes erupted between security forces and students demanding political change at a protest in Algeria's capital, Algiers, on May 2. Small protests in the city are quickly put down by well-equipped riot police.
Farouk Batiche/AFP/Getty Images

The North African country of Algeria borders both Tunisia and Libya, but after being scarred by a civil war during the 1990s, Algerians have not rebelled like their neighbors.

But that could change. And observers warn that there could be an explosion if the government's promise of change doesn't come fast enough. Seventy percent of the Algerian population is under the age of 30, and its discontent is growing.

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Tue May 24, 2011

Strauss-Kahn 'Earthquake' Shakes Up French Election

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, appears for a bail hearing on May 19 in New York. Many had expected Strauss-Kahn to beat French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential elections.
Richard Drew Pool/Getty Images

Before he was accused of sexual assault in New York earlier this month, Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been expected to run for president of France as the Socialist Party candidate. And his abrupt exit from the scene has thrown the French political world into chaos.

It seemed almost everyone had expected Strauss-Kahn to beat the currently unpopular president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also expected to run in the 2012 election. Now things have changed, says Dominique Moisi of the French Institute for International Relations.

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Tue May 17, 2011

IMF Chief Arrest Leads To Soul Searching In France

France has entered a period of self-examination after the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. In particular, people are asking if the long tradition of turning a blind eye to the sexual peccadilloes of the French elite has allowed men in powerful positions to abuse women with impunity.


Mon May 16, 2011

IMF Head Strauss-Kahn To Be Arraigned In New York

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested over the weekend in New York on suspicion of attempted rape. The charges relate to an assault on a chamber maid at a New York hotel. Strauss-Kahn, who denies all the charges, had been expected to run for president of France.


Sun May 15, 2011

IMF Chief's Arrest Stuns France

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest Saturday has shocked France, where he was widely expected to run for the French presidency next year.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, for alleged criminal sexual behavior against a hotel maid in New York City has shocked France where he was widely expected to be the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party a year from now.

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Sat May 14, 2011

Family Law At The Crux Of Algerian Women's Futures

An Algerian family enjoys a picnic in Tipaza, a vacation town about 40 miles from Algiers. Many Algerian women say that wearing the veil is not an issue in their emancipation; what matters is their family situation, which is influenced by a strict code that governs marriage and family life.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Algeria, which shares a border with both Tunisia and Libya, is so far just watching the upheaval across the Arab world. Most Algerians say their country is still too scarred by a decade of violence in the 1990s to endure another uprising.

Nearly every Algerian now calls that a lost decade, but no one feels it more acutely than Algerian women.

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Thu May 12, 2011

France Moves To Ban Shale Gas Drilling

Lawmakers in France's lower house of parliament have voted to ban a controversial gas and oil drilling technique. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is widely used in the United States, but environmentalists say it can pollute ground water.


Wed May 4, 2011

Libyan Rebels Hang On To Strategic Border Crossing

A strategic border crossing from western Libya and Tunisia came under fire twice over the weekend, falling briefly back into the hands of troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. The crossing is a lifeline for Libyan rebels and citizens.


Thu April 28, 2011

Refugees Stream Into Tunisia To Flee Libya Fighting

There have been reports over the past 10 days in Libya of heavy fighting between forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and anti-government rebels in a mountainous region southwest of Tripoli, prompting civilians to flee for Tunisia through a border post that was captured by the rebels last week.

Less than a week ago, the desert border post was controlled by Gadhafi's forces. But in a nighttime battle last Thursday, rebels took it.

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Mon April 25, 2011

Algeria's 'Black Decade' Still Weighs Heavily

Islamist radicals killed more than a dozen Algerian soldiers last week in a rare flare-up of violence between Muslim extremists and the Algerian state.

During the 1990s the government fought a brutal civil war against an Islamist insurgency that it eventually won. But at an enormous cost: the death of some 200,000 civilians.

Algerians say it's the memory of those years of violence and upheaval that has kept people from demonstrating in the streets against their government; even if they face some of the same problems as other Arab nations.

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