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.
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The trailblazing U.S.-born star and civil rights activist was given France's highest honor on Tuesday when she was inducted into the Pantheon. She first achieved fame in Paris in the 1920s.
After reducing or eliminating COVID restrictions as more people became vaccinated, many European countries are being forced to reverse course, as infections increase across the continent.
While most Tunisians were glad to see their president dissolve the quarrelsome, ineffective parliament and take extra powers, some worry Tunisia could be repeating a path to dictatorship.
Tunisia's president dissolved the last parliament and has concentrated power. Now, he's appointed the country's first female prime minister. But is this a genuine move towards reform?
Tunisia's president has made a power grab that has people worried about the country's young democracy. But most Tunisians support him.
The price of natural gas in Europe has skyrocketed in recent weeks, and there are predictions of energy shortages across the continent this winter.
A new report in France says hundreds of thousands of children have been abused by priests and others working in the Catholic Church over the last 70 years.
Facing criticism after recent steps threatening Tunisia's young democracy, the country's president has named a new prime minister — the first woman to hold that position in an Arab country.
Its jasmine and roses are prized by perfumers and those eager to learn the trade. But the French Riviera town of Grasse didn't always smell sweet. Centuries ago, it was known for leather tanneries.