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
5:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Paris' 'Little Bamako' Keeps Keen Eye On Fighting In Mali

One Paris neighborhood is known as "Little Bamako," named after the capital of Mali. It's a place where Malian immigrants welcome and closely follow the French military campaign against Islamist extremists in their home country. Some express disappointment that President Obama did not send U.S. troops alongside the French soldiers. They reject the harsh Sharia law of the extremists, saying Mali is in fact a very tolerant nation.

Technology
4:34 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

French Twitter Lawsuit Pits Free Speech Against Hate Speech

A wave of racist tweets prompted a Jewish student organization to file a lawsuit asking the American company Twitter to reveal the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. Twitter says data on users is collected and stocked in California, where French law cannot be applied.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

A French judge will decide this week if Twitter must hand over the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. The case, brought against Twitter by a Jewish student organization, pits America's free speech guarantees against Europe's laws banning hate speech.

The controversy began in October, when the French Union of Jewish Students threatened to sue Twitter to get the names of people posting anti-Semitic tweets with the hashtag #unbonjuif, or "a good Jew."

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Africa
8:05 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Repercussions Of Crisis In Algeria Could Be Far-Reaching

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 6:22 pm

Algerian security forces stormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert Saturday, bringing to an end a four-day siege by Islamist militants who took dozens of foreigners hostage.

Africa
4:46 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Algerian Forces Wanted To Send Firm Message To Militants With Gas Plant Raid

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 8:16 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with a brazen rescue attempt in Algeria. Government forces launched an assault today on an oil and gas facility in the remote Algerian desert. There, Islamist militants had been holding hundreds of hostages, including 41 Westerners, since yesterday. The Algerian military went in swiftly and decisively, stunning Western governments, who might have handled such a hostage drama more delicately.

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Africa
4:57 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Algeria Hostage-Taking Could Be Retaliation For France's Actions In Mali

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 7:16 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Algerian Islamists attacked an oil and gas field at dawn this morning in the desert on the border with Libya. They claim to have taken nearly 200 people hostage. In addition to Algerians, they claim to hold seven Americans, as well as French, British and Japanese citizens.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris reports the hostage-taking appears to be the first act of retaliation for France's actions in Mali.

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Africa
5:47 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

France To Send More Troops To Mali To Combat Islamist Militants

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 8:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The French defense minister says France is preparing for a possible land assault in Mali, so it plans to increase its troop levels to 2,500. Back home in France, authorities are girding for possible terrorist attacks in response to their intervention. Eleanor Beardsley has that story from Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (French spoken)

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Europe
4:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

French President's Bold Actions Transform His Image

French President Francois Hollande talks about the situation in Mali on Saturday at the presidential palace in Paris. Backed by French air power, Malian troops Friday unleashed an offensive against Islamist rebels.
Lionel Bonaventure AP

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 12:39 pm

Since last weekend, France has been fighting Islamist radicals across Africa. In the west, it's sending troops to help overthrow rebels in its former colony, Mali; in the east, French special forces staged an unsuccessful but bold operation to free a French hostage in Somalia. While the fighting is far from over, French President Francois Hollande's show of force is producing some collateral benefits for him back home.

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Middle East
4:53 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Murder Of Kurdish Activists Could Be Attempt To Derail Peace Talks With Turkey

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:22 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Three Kurdish women were killed this morning in downtown Paris, in what the French Interior Minister described as an execution. One of the women was a founder of the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party. The group has been fighting for decades for an autonomous Kurdistan. The killings sent a shockwave through the large Kurdish Diaspora in Europe, and cast a shadow over peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish government.

From Paris, Eleanor Beardsley reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS)

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All Tech Considered
5:50 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

European Union Protests Google's New Privacy Policy

In this photo illustration, the Google logo is seen through a pair of glasses in Glasgow, Scotland. The European Union says a change in Google's privacy policy is a breach of European privacy law.
Jeff J. Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:53 pm

Parisian dance professor Charlotte King says she needs Google for her job and life, but she doesn't trust the world's top Web search engine.

"When I'm doing some research, the day after I have some proposition of products, of stores, of places, and it's really espionage. I was spied on. I don't want that. It's unacceptable," King says.

That viewpoint resonates in Europe. The European Union says a recent change in Google's privacy policy that allows it to combine and share data collected from all of its different services is a breach of European privacy law.

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Europe
5:20 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

With Topless Protests, 'Sextremists' March In Paris

French policemen on Oct. 15 detain topless activists from the group Femen who are protesting the verdict in a gang rape trial. The group was established in Ukraine but is now setting up an office in Paris.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Sometimes, less is more.

That's certainly the thinking of the Ukrainian feminist movement Femen, best known for its bare-breasted protests in its home country. Now it has brought its self-described "sextremism" to Paris, opening its first international training camp and wasting no time attracting new recruits, causes and attention.

On a recent sunny morning, seven young women stride purposefully toward the stone facade of France's Justice Ministry. Suddenly they throw their coats to the ground. Slogans are painted across their bare bosoms; garlands decorate their hair.

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The Salt
3:03 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Urban Parisian Vines Produce Wine With A Drop Of History

Crowds watch as Clos Montmartre's grapes are harvested during its annual October wine festival.
Jacque Brinon AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 10:45 am

In America, vineyards are usually tucked in out-of-the-way rural areas, among country lanes. But in France, where great wine is a way of life, vineyards are everywhere — even in the middle of the country's biggest city.

High on the hills of the neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris is Clos Montmartre, the city's last working vineyard.

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World
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

New French President Sees Popularity Crash

Just a few months ago, supporters rallied in the streets for the election of Francois Hollande. Now, some of the same people are protesting against the French president. Leftist parties and unions organized this anti-austerity protest in September.
Bertrand Langlois AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 5:47 pm

Just five months after electing President Francois Hollande, many French are now despairing that he cannot deliver on the vision they voted for. What's worse, some wonder if Hollande has a plan at all.

The new president's ratings have plummeted, and his once-lauded "steady approach" is now perceived as dithering.

Protesters shouting "Resistance!" in the streets of Paris this month included people who voted for him and now feel betrayed. They were demonstrating against the European fiscal treaty, approved this week by the Socialist-dominated French parliament.

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The Salt
6:37 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Bouillabaisse: From Humble Beginnings To High-Class Tourist Meal

The ingredients for a vrai bouillaibaisse at Le Miramar in Marseille, France.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

The southern French city of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea has long been famous for its spicy fish soup, known as bouillabaisse. The soup started as a poor man's meal, made with leftover fish scraps, but these days, it's evolved to the point that it can run connoisseurs about $75 for a generously sized meal.

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Africa
3:28 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Tunisians Battle Over The Meaning Of Free Expression

Tunisian artist Nadia Jelassi with two of the sculptures from her exhibit that were attacked by a hard-line Muslim group. Secular Tunisians and Islamists have clashed over multiple issues related to freedom of expression.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:14 pm

Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring last year, and many regard it as the most Western-looking nation in the Arab world. Yet it's also waging a roaring debate over how to define freedom of expression in an evolving society.

Tunisian protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy recently in response to the anti-Muslim video Innocence of Muslims. This was just the latest of several episodes in which hard-line Muslims have acted out publicly to what they see as attacks on their religion.

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Europe
4:17 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Poverty, Segregation Fuel Marseille Crime Wave

Police climb the stairs in a building on the north side of Marseille, southern France, as part of an operation in January against drug dealing and gun proliferation.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 5:51 pm

Drug and gang violence in Marseille, France's second largest city, has gotten so out of control that one local politician has called for the army to be sent in to restore order.

The proposal shocked the French and President Francois Hollande. Now, the French government is making the city a top priority.

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Sports
5:40 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

France Makes First Showing At World Baseball Classic

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 6:05 pm

When you think about France, baseball doesn't leap to mind, but the sport has a long history there, dating back to 1889. During World War I, French soldiers played baseball with American doughboys. And now there is a French baseball league. But the games are never televised and the fans are mostly friends and family. But this week, for the first time, France sent its top team to the qualifying matches for the World Baseball Classic, a tournament that was created when baseball ceased to be an Olympics sport.

Europe
5:06 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

France Braces For Backlash From Muslim Cartoon

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

France announced today that it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday, the Muslim holy day. The reason: security. A French satirical newspaper today published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, this after a massive protest over a derogatory video about Muhammad produced in the U.S. Those demonstrations have been linked to the death of at least 30 people in seven countries including the American ambassador to Libya. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in the Tunisian capital of Tunis and sent this report.

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NPR Story
6:11 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Critics: Violence Is Wake-Up Call For Tunisa's Government

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's catch up, now, on protests that have swept through nation after nation, in response to an anti-Islamic film. And today, we go to Tunisia. It was the first nation to stage a successful uprising in the Arab Spring. It's a popular destination for tourists. And violence there, last week, took some by surprise. Eleanor Beardsley reports.

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Europe
8:16 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Violence Seizes French Port City

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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