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.
In France, the search is on for a thousand massive oak trees to provide beams needed to restore Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, which was badly damaged by fire two years ago.
The French Senate passed an amendment that would make it illegal for girls to wear the religious veil worn by Muslim women. The measure will likely fail when up for debate in the National Assembly.
A report by historians has concluded the French government was not complicit in the Rwanda genocide of 1994 — but turned a blind eye to it and so bears overwhelming responsibility.
The world's oldest ballet company is undergoing a racial reckoning. The Paris Opera Ballet is working to update racist stereotypes and increase diversity.
Europe faces a surge of coronavirus infections and a slow vaccination roll out. The European Union is giving itself emergency powers to curb exports of COVID-19 vaccines produced within the bloc.
Health experts in Europe say the continent is facing a third wave of coronavirus infection — exacerbated by virulent new strains and a lack of vaccines.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been given a three-year prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling.
The French Bakers Association wants the baguette added to the United Nation's list of intangible treasures. A true baguette is a mix of 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt and plenty of time.
French government ministers have accused the country's universities of failing to recognize the threat to French society posed by radical Islamists.
It could've been the E.U.'s finest hour, but instead, critics say the bloc's vaccine rollout is a bungled mess that included a diplomatic row with Ireland and the U.K.