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Eleanor Beardsley

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 the two waves 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 travelled 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 upset of 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 has followed the Tour de France cycling race, she covered the 2014 European soccer cup and she will follow the Women's World Soccer Cup held in France in June 2019.

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, DC, and as a staff assistant to South Carolina 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. "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.

The European Union is making a list of countries whose travelers will be allowed to visit this summer — and for now at least, the U.S. doesn't seem likely to meet the criteria based on its recent coronavirus numbers.

The United States has the most cases of any country in the world, and many states are reporting sharp rises in new cases as they ease shutdown orders.

French police say they are being stigmatized during protests in France against police violence in the wake of George Floyd's death.

On Thursday, police gathered in front of precincts across the country and threw down their handcuffs in a symbolic gesture against what they say is unfair criticism.

The protests in the United States against racism and police violence have inspired similar demonstrations across the Atlantic, from Amsterdam to London to Paris and Marseille.

More than 20,000 people came out in the French capital Tuesday, despite a ban on gatherings due to the coronavirus.

They shook their fists and yelled "pas de justice, pas de paix!" — "no justice, no peace!" — in front of Paris' main courthouse. But the name the crowd chanted wasn't George Floyd. It was Adama Traoré.

The French are heading into a long holiday weekend with sunny, blue skies and the promise of some newfound freedoms. Starting June 2, for the first time since the country was put under lockdown in mid-March, people will be able to travel more than 60 miles from their homes, parks will open and restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to serve food and drinks again to customers onsite.

When restaurants in France were forced to close on March 15 due to the coronavirus, many kitchens switched to takeout. That's manageable if you serve crêpes, burgers or sushi. But what if you're a three-Michelin-star chef?

Germany and France have proposed the creation of a fund of 500 billion euros (more than $540 billion) to support the recovery of the European Union's coronavirus-stricken economies. The fund would add to the more than half-trillion dollars in emergency relief measures the bloc's 27 leaders signed off on last month.

With turf wars over face masks and other personal protective equipment not yet over, the battle over who will be the first to get a COVID-19 vaccine seems to have begun.

Earlier this week, Paul Hudson, CEO of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, told Bloomberg News that if Sanofi develops a vaccine, doses would likely go to Americans first. Hudson said this was understandable, given the U.S. had financially supported its research.

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On a sunny weekend in mid-March, just a couple of days before President Emmanuel Macron put France in lockdown to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, 32-year-old Daphné Rousseau was outside Paris, enjoying lunch in the countryside with a group of friends.

When French President Emmanuel Macron addressed his countrymen this week to tell them they would have to stay inside another month, national media regarded his speech as raking in the highest TV audience ratings the country had ever seen.

Commander in Chief Macron now seems to have the attention and respect of much of the nation. What a difference a year — and a pandemic — makes.

On Wednesday, the first anniversary of the devastating fire that ripped through Notre Dame, the famous 17th century bell in the cathedral's south tower, known as "le bourdon," rang out at 8 p.m.

Brice de Malherbe, a priest at Notre Dame, came out on the warm, sunny evening to listen to the bell toll for the first time since the fire.

"My feeling today is mainly hope because the cathedral is still there," he said. "We don't have the blazing flames we had a year ago. Of course, the cathedral is hurt, but it seems nearly serene."

With France, like much of the world, in lockdown because of the coronavirus, the country's Christians will not be able to gather in churches to celebrate Easter this year.

But the archbishop of Paris says he wants to send a strong signal of hope to the faithful by holding a small Good Friday ceremony amid the rubble inside Notre Dame, and beaming it out to the world.

Paris baker Tony Doré pulls a rack of toasted, golden baguettes from the oven. He says he's baking them all day long to keep his customers supplied.

"Every day, so many people thank me for staying open," he says. "If the bakeries started closing, people would be unnerved. In France, we eat bread at every meal. It's a tradition. We cannot go without good bread."

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In a first for Europe, 20 critically ill coronavirus patients were evacuated aboard a fully medicalized, high-speed train.

The patients were transferred from the hard-hit eastern region of France, where hospitals are operating at overcapacity, to the western Loire Valley, where facilities still have plenty of beds.

In a chalet in Chamonix, in the French Alps, 73-year-old Danièle Enoch-Maillard waits out the coronavirus epidemic — and thinks of her father.

He also took refuge not far from here, in the village of Notre Dame de Bellecombe, though at a different time and for entirely different reasons.

"My father survived the Second World War because he was able to hide out in the high mountains only a couple kilometers from where I am now," she tells NPR by phone.

The largest-ever collection of works by Leonardo da Vinci is drawing record crowds at the Louvre in Paris this year, the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. The Louvre has brought together more than 100 paintings, drawings and manuscripts for the exhibition, which opened in October and will end in February.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In France, climate change is already affecting one of the country's most emblematic industries — winemaking. French vintners say heat, drought and erratic weather are altering the landscape and their centuries-old way of working.

Brothers Remi and Gregoire Couppé are fourth-generation winemakers who craft a top vintage, grand cru St. Emilion. In the past few years they've been confronted with some new challenges. Remi Couppé, 44, says there's no denying the weather is getting hotter and drier.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Jacques René Chirac, a champion of Europe and fierce opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, has died. The former two-term president was 86.

Chirac spent half a century in the public eye. Before he was president of France, he was the mayor of Paris. He also served two terms as prime minister and represented his rural district in the French Parliament for nearly 30 years.

"My countrymen, I love France passionately and have put my whole heart, energy and force into serving her and you," Chirac said when he left office in 2007. "It has been the engagement of a lifetime."

A little over three months after Paris' Notre Dame caught fire, French officials say the cathedral is still in a precarious state and needs to be stabilized. Ultimately, they aim to restore the monument, a process that will take years.

When that work begins, there will be a new demand for experts who have the same skills required to build Notre Dame 900 years ago. In the workshops of the Hector Guimard high school, less than three miles from the cathedral, young stone carvers are training for that task.

For much of his life, Ray Lambert wouldn't talk about World War II. But then the 98-year-old veteran army medic began returning to Normandy, where, on June 6, 1944, he led a unit of medics as a 24-year-old staff sergeant in the allied invasion of western Europe.

"I realized that if I didn't tell these stories about my men, that they couldn't do it," he says. "I felt it my responsibility and obligation to them to talk to people and tell people about the war and what they did."

As a budding young soprano in the 1990s, Anne-Sophie Schmidt was selected to sing the lead role in an opera conducted by the renowned Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit and the National Orchestra of France. It was a great honor to work with Dutoit, she says.

But then the harassment started.

After one concert, Schmidt says, Dutoit pushed her up against a wall and forcibly kissed and groped her.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Why would a wildlife conservation organization be involved in a campaign to push people to diversify their diets? As it turns out, the way we humans eat is very much linked to preserving wildlife — and many other issues.

France has been shocked by incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in the last couple weeks, including 80 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery painted with graffiti and swastikas earlier this month.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France and other Western democracies are experiencing a "resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II."

Stung by criticism, and with his government rocked by ongoing protests from yellow vest demonstrators, French President Emmanuel Macron last month launched a nationwide series of community conversations — what his government calls a grand debat national or "great national debate." Since mid-January, groups of mayors, local leaders and ordinary citizens have been meeting to hear and respond to complaints, grievances and suggestions.

At a traffic circle outside the northern French town of Rouen, a couple of dozen protesters gather every day, building a bonfire and occasionally blocking traffic. The threat of arrest doesn't keep them away. Au contraire, says protester Frederic Bard; the nationwide movement called the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests, feels pretty powerful.

"The media are all talking about us, and we actually made the government back down," he says. "We're not about to accept the crumbs Macron has thrown us."

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