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.

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Europe
4:06 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Will French Election Mark A Reversal Of Austerity?

Tens of thousands of people in Paris used the annual May Day workers' events this year to denounce the world of finance amid the Europe-wide debt crisis. If elected, France's Socialist presidential challenger, Francois Hollande, says he will pursue a growth-oriented strategy.
Guillaume Baptiste AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:43 am

The possibility that French President Nicolas Sarkozy may lose the presidential election Sunday is making waves across Europe. Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the architects of Europe's new fiscal austerity pact.

But the man likely to replace Sarkozy has other ideas.

Socialist candidate Francois Hollande — who is favored in opinion polls by several percentage points — says Europe cannot emerge from the crisis based on austerity alone.

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Europe
2:07 am
Tue May 1, 2012

In French Election, Candidates Chase Far-Right Votes

A campaign poster for French President Nicolas Sarkozy stands next to a torn poster of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in northern France. Sarkozy needs Le Pen's far-right voters if he is to win the runoff election on Sunday.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 6:35 am

President Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting desperately to hold on to his job with five days to go until the French presidential runoff against socialist rival Francois Hollande.

Both candidates have been trying to appeal to supporters of France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who came in third place in the first round of balloting held last month. Sarkozy, from the center-right, finished in second place, with Socialist candidate Francois Hollande taking first with nearly 29 percent of the vote.

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Europe
3:35 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Incumbent Sarkozy Faces French Presidential Runoff

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 5:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Renee Montagne is back with us. Renee, welcome back.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Glad to be back, Steve. Thanks.

Let's begin with one of the most colorful European leaders, who is on the verge of losing his job. Nicolas Sarkozy has walked the world stage with his supermodel wife on his arm.

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Europe
6:33 am
Sun April 22, 2012

First Round Of Voting Begins In France

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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NPR Story
6:41 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Nazi Past Has French Town Wary Of Far-Right Politics

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 9:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Voters go to the polls tomorrow in France to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. President Nicolas Sarkozy still trails his socialist opponent Francois Hollande. Mr. Sarkozy has tried to close that gap by appealing to voters on the right. Much of the French campaign this time around focused on right-wing issues like crime, security and immigration.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited a town in France that is still haunted by ghosts of its far-right past, to see what people think about that.

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Europe
1:08 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

In France, Fiery Leftist Candidate Strikes A Nerve

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Front presidential candidate, draws huge crowds, rivaling those of mainstream candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. Here, he delivers a speech during a campaign meeting on April 1 in Grigny, outside Paris.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 5:06 pm

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Europe
3:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

French Village Takes Stock Of Election Issues

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

An outsized figure on the world's stage is fighting to keep his job. Nicolas Sarkozy has made headlines pressing for intervention in Libya, travelling abroad with his supermodel second wife Carla Bruni, pressing to free up France's economy and struggling with Europe's debt crisis. Now, with an election approaching, the French president is trailing in opinion polls against his main rival, the socialist Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's future depends on voters like those who spoke with NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

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The Salt
1:19 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

French Muslims Ease Cultural Tensions With French-Halal Food

A butcher shop in Paris, which prominently advertises that it sells halal meat.
Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 1:21 pm

On a recent evening, Les Enfants Terribles, a Paris restaurant that serves French cuisine cooked with halal meat, was brimming with customers.

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Europe
7:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Socialist Campaigns Against Sarkozy, 'Big Finance'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

French voters go to the polls three weeks from today to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. Current president Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting for his life in a close race against a man who has never held national office, and is virtually unknown outside of France. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this profile of socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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Europe
2:35 am
Fri March 30, 2012

French Killings Spark National Soul-Searching

Hundreds of people gather on March 23 on the main public square in Toulouse, France, to pay homage to the seven victims of self-proclaimed al-Qaida militant Mohamed Merah.
Eric Cabanis AFP/Getty Images

The killings in France of three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers of North African descent came during a presidential campaign in which immigration has dominated campaign rhetoric. The Toulouse gunman, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, was shot dead by police, but the tragedy has prompted national soul-searching.

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Europe
3:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

With Gunman Dead, France Probes For Answers

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Mohamed Mehra, the self-confessed gunman who terrorized the French city of Toulouse, was killed yesterday in a shootout with French police. Authorities had hoped to bring him in alive, to find out what drove him to commit the attacks that left seven dead, including three children at a Jewish school. Now, France is left to wonder whether its intelligence services missed signs that could've prevented the tragedy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

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The Salt
11:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue

French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to a butcher during a visit to the butchery pavilion at the Rungis international food market, near Paris, in February.
Anna Maria Jakub Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:29 pm

A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.

It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

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Europe
3:00 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Marine Le Pen Enters France's Presidential Race

Far right politician Marine Le Pen is officially in the French presidential race after getting the required 500 mayors' signatures to appear on the ballot. She launched her campaign in a small town in the north of France, a poor region where many see globalization and immigration as France's biggest problems.

Europe
7:00 am
Sun March 4, 2012

French Head To The Slopes For Winter Break

Paris has become a virtual ghost town as families vacate the city for two weeks of ski holiday, a time-honored ritual the French seem disinclined to give up. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.

Europe
11:01 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

For Leap Day Only, A Rare Newspaper Goes To Print

A man reads a copy of the satirical newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper's Candle), published every leap day, in a Parisian cafe on Feb. 29, 2008. The paper's tagline is "without reproach."
Patrick Hertzog AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 10:02 am

At newsstands across France on Wednesday, readers will delight to a humorous broadsheet published every four years on leap day.

At news shops in Paris and around France, readers look forward to their copy of La Bougie du Sapeur every Feb. 29. Published since 1980, the satirical journal is now in its ninth edition. Its title, which translates as "sapper's candle," is taken from an old French comic-book figure who was born on that fateful last day of February.

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Europe
4:28 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Will France's First Lady Be Able To Seduce Voters?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, greet supporters during a campaign rally in Marseille, France, on Feb. 19.
Patrick Aventurier Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 10:20 am

In the traditional world of French politics, spouses don't usually jump into the fray. But French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is anything but a traditional political spouse.

Her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, has just announced he is running for re-election this spring. It's a challenge: Polls show him trailing the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's wife has promised to do everything she can to help her husband win — and that includes hitting the campaign trail.

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Europe
7:00 am
Sun February 12, 2012

Sarkozy's Re-Election On The Backburner

France is holding a presidential election in the spring, and the campaign is in full swing, sort of. The only thing missing is one of the candidates: President Nicolas Sarkozy. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he hasn't yet announced whether he's running for re-election.

Politics
3:50 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

On The Trail, Romney Avoids His French Connection

Mitt Romney with his then fiancee, Ann (right), and Romney's parents, in Washington, D.C., in 1969. Romney had returned from Mormon missionary work in France the previous year.
JH AP

Mitt Romney waxed eloquent in French as he promoted the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, calling the two years he spent as a young man in France an "enriching experience."

But now that he's running for president of the United States, Romney doesn't talk a lot about his time as a Mormon missionary in France.

"Voilà," says Philippe Brillaut, as he points to the site of what would be France's first Mormon temple.

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Religion
4:57 am
Sun January 29, 2012

On The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

Though marginal, the de-baptism movement is growing, observers say.
iStockphoto.com

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier's parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

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Europe
3:06 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

At The Louvre, A Rare Showcase For American Art

An exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris explores American landscape painting. Here, the museum's director, Henri Loyrette, looks at the oil paintings of Thomas Cole (1801-1848), known for his realistic and detailed works.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 6:03 pm

The Louvre had a record 9 million visitors last year, and about 10 percent of them were American. Yet the iconic Paris art museum only has four American paintings in its huge permanent collection.

But the Louvre's curators want to change that and heighten the public's knowledge and awareness of early American art with a new exhibit.

Nationwide, French museums own some 2,000 American paintings, but those Whistlers, Homers and Cassatts are exhibited in more modern museums such as the Musee d'Orsay.

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:41 pm

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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Europe
11:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

French Dilemma: How To Burn Off All That Overtime?

France's 35-hour work week has resulted in some workers accumulating vast amounts of overtime that they are required to use this year. The problem is particularly acute at some hospitals. Here a woman speaks with a doctor at the Conception Hospital in Marseille on Tuesday.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 7:32 am

France's 35-hour work week has plenty of critics who say it has sapped the country of its competitiveness and is tying companies in knots. And to make their case, a leading example is the current state of overtime at French hospitals.

Along with five weeks of annual leave, French employees get time off if they work more than 35 hours in a week. At the Hopital Vaugirard, a public hospital in central Paris, employees have accumulated more than 2 million days off in the past decade.

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Europe
5:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

AAA No More: Credit Downgrade Hits France

The loss of France's AAA credit rating is likely to play a role in President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election bid.
Charles Platiau AP

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 1:12 pm

Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign debt of France, Italy, Spain and six other European countries on Friday. The move was highly expected, but it's still a blow to France and sending shock waves across Europe. France is the eurozone's second-largest economy, and its downgrade could even threaten Europe's master plan to stop its debt crisis.

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Europe
3:40 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Fears Grow Over Faulty French-Made Breast Implants

French-made breast implants produced by the Poly Implant Prothese company have been found to be faulty and are at the heart of a growing health scandal.
Sebastien Nogier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 5:27 pm

A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.

The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.

French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.

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NPR Story
3:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

French Parliament Moves To Ban Prostitution

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 6:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the middle of a debt crisis and with a French presidential election looming, lawmakers from the left and right found something to agree on: prostitution. After years of taking a relaxed approach to prostitution, France may be about to outlaw the practice - not on the seller's part, but on the buyer's. Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
5:01 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Merkel, Sarkozy Meet Ahead Of Brussels Summit

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 1:04 pm

As European leaders prepare for yet another "last-ditch" effort to save the euro at a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the two eurozone powerhouses, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meet in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley talks about their meeting.

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Europe
2:00 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Sarkozy Lays Foundation For Reshaping The Eurozone

During a speech delivered Thursday in Toulon, France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be announcing new measures to guarantee the future of Europe.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 9:14 pm

In a highly anticipated speech Thursday night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy laid the groundwork for tighter French-German cooperation.

He made an ambitious call for a rewrite of European treaties, but his speech — billed as his last-ditch plan to save the euro — offered no concrete emergency measures to contain Europe's debt crisis.

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Europe
11:01 pm
Sun November 13, 2011

Carlos The Jackal: On Trial Again, And Still Defiant

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

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 6:13 am

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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Europe
3:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Sarkozy Warns France Of More Belt-Tightening Ahead

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 7:48 am

Transcript

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Africa
7:14 am
Sun October 23, 2011

Tunisians Wake To Their Very First Election Day

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 6:20 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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