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, workers are protesting against the government proposal to raise the retirement age, and in the United Kingdom, people are protesting low pay amid a cost of living crisis.
Thousands of French workers went on strike and many more marched across the country to protest President Emmanuel Macron's plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.
Predictions of rolling blackouts across Europe this month have not come to pass — so far. It's not only because of the mild winter.
For decades, France's far right party has been led by a Le Pen: first father, then daughter. Marine Le Pen's replacement hails from a younger generation, and party supporters hope he attracts voters.
The U.S., France and Germany have recently announced plans to send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. The Western-designed weapons are an upgrade, but they're not the tanks that Ukraine wants.
The Kurdish community in France is reeling from a triple killing, just as they prepare to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of another deadly shooting. Few believe it was a lone-wolf attack.
A luxury leather goods manufacturer in the Burgundy region has hired two dozen Ukrainians since the war began. The CEO says it's partly because he can't find enough French workers to fill the jobs.
The war in Ukraine is transforming Europe in more ways than one. Ukrainian refugees in France are helping to fill jobs in places where there aren't enough French workers.
The large Kurdish community in Paris says Friday's shooting of a cultural center there is more than a racially motivated attack; it is terrorism.
France is competing against Argentina in the World Cup final. In Paris, concerns over human rights violations are now mixed with excitement.