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.



Fri December 26, 2014

Europe's Far Right And Putin Get Cozy, With Benefits For Both

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:28 am

Marine Le Pen (center), leader of France's far-right National Front party, has visited Russia on several occasions, and a Russian bank recently lent her party $11 million.
Jean-Philippe Ksiazek AFP/Getty Images

Last month at a meeting of the far-right National Front in the French city of Lyon, there was a special guest: Andrey Isayev, a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's political party.

The apparent contradiction of political philosophies didn't seem to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm for Isayev's message: Long live Franco-Russian friendship, and down with the European Union! Isayev called the EU a "spineless lackey of the United States."

Read more


Thu December 25, 2014

The French Go Crazy For 'An American In Paris'

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 2:49 pm

The stage version of the Hollywood classic An American in Paris combines British, French and American artistic traditions and stars Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in the roles made famous by Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly.
Marie-Noelle Robert Courtesy of Theatre du Chatelet

Parisians are going gaga over An American in Paris, the first-ever stage production of the 1951 Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron and with a musical score by George Gershwin.

The performance at Paris' Chatelet theater is getting rave reviews and has completely sold out. It's not hard to see why: The stage comes alive with the story of an American artist and the young French dancer he falls in love with. It's filled with fabulous dancing and all those great Gershwin tunes.

Read more


Wed December 10, 2014

French Hostage Released After Being Held For 3 Years By Al-Qaida

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:38 am

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



A French hostage returned to Paris today after being held for three years by al-Qaida in the Sahara. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports the man's release has revived questions about whether and how governments should deal with hostage takers.

Read more


Wed December 3, 2014
Goats and Soda

A Tale Of Dueling Ebola Songs: One From Britain, One From Africa

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 2:14 pm

Courtesy of Jean-Christophe Nougaret/MSF

In separate recording studios and separate songs, two groups of international stars have harnessed the power of their voices to help raise awareness of Ebola.

Read more


Wed November 5, 2014
Book News & Features

A French Best-Seller's Radical Argument: Vichy Regime Wasn't All Bad

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 9:23 am

Philippe Petain, head of the French World War II collaborationist government in Vichy, greets French prisoners arriving from Germany in 1941.

On a recent night in France, conservative journalist Eric Zemmour, author of Le Suicide Francais (French Suicide), was under attack on a talk show — again. The debate over Zemmour's book has monopolized conversation on the airwaves and in cafes.

Read more