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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Parallels
6:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Rabbi Michel Serfaty (right), head of the Jewish-Muslim Alliance of France, stands next to a Muslim cleric, or imam, as they both hold signs wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan. The rabbi and the imam have also traded hats. Despite efforts by Serfaty's group, a record number of French Jews are expected to move to Israel this year.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 10:53 am

Jews are leaving France and moving to Israel in unprecedented numbers this year.

With the departures expected to surpass 5,000, France could pull ahead of the U.S. for Jewish emigration to Israel, known as aliya. Usually, making aliya is a cause for celebration. But in France this year, it's tinged with bitterness.

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Theater
5:08 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

This Year, Avignon Festival Is A Stage For Both Plays And Protest

Dutch actors perform during a dress rehearsal of the show HUIS at the 68th Avignon Theater Festival in France. The festival has been international since 1966 and today French performances make up only 20 percent of all acts.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 6:35 pm

Every July, for one month a year, the southern French city of Avignon becomes a theater. Actors, directors and playwrights converge on the walled, medieval town, where thespians perform in every playhouse, opera house, church and even in the streets. It's all part of the Avignon Theater Festival, which was started in 1947 by renowned French actor and director Jean Vilar.

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy

A new logo that is supposed to ensure a Paris restaurant's food is homemade (fait maison in French) is already stirring up controversy.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 5:04 pm

If you go to France this summer, you might notice a new logo in restaurant windows or on menus. It's a simple graphic of a rooftop covering a saucepan, and it's supposed to designate fait maison, or homemade. It's designed to highlight places that make their own dishes rather than bringing in frozen or sous vide — prepared meals cooked in a water bath, sealed in airtight plastic bags and designed to be heated up later.

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Sports
10:41 am
Sat July 5, 2014

A Cleaner Tour De France Kicks Off With A Nod To WWI

Sprinters Mark Cavendish of Britain (second left) and Germany's Andre Greipel, (right) shake hands as Britain's Christopher Froome (second right) and Spain's Alberto Contador (left) wait for the start of the first stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.
Christophe Ena AP

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 1:08 pm

Last year, the Tour de France celebrated its 100th anniversary with a spectacular sound and light show at the Arc de Triomphe during the closing ceremony.

It might be hard to duplicate that kind of enthusiasm at this year's Tour, which begins Saturday, especially with competition from the World Cup in Brazil. But the 2014 Tour will be special too, says Matthieu Barberousse, a journalist with L'Equipe sports newspaper.

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Europe
4:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Years Of Syrian Violence Have Changed The Face Of The French Jihadi

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some European Muslims have been heading to Syria to join the fight alongside jihadist who were trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict has been going on for more than three years and many Europeans are now fearful that those fighters may return to carry out attacks at home. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells us about that concern in France.

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