Listen

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 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.

GRASSE, France — The town of Grasse sits in the hills above the more famous French Riviera city of Cannes, and it doesn't have the Mediterranean Sea at its doorstep. What it does have is fields of flowers — jasmine, May rose, tuberose, lavender. It is known as the perfume capital of the world.

It wasn't always this way. Back in the18th and 19th centuries, the industry took off in Grasse in part because this was an absolutely putrid-smelling town.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Updated September 7, 2021 at 5:05 PM ET

On Wednesday, 20 men accused of planning and carrying out the largest peacetime attacks on French soil will go on trial in Paris.

Nearly six years ago, 10 attackers killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more in coordinated shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan concert hall, a sports stadium and bars and restaurants across the French capital. The ISIS attacks took place on an unusually balmy November Friday night in 2015, when outdoor café tables were full.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While European leaders were careful not to directly criticize the Biden administration, many are angry over how the U.S. is departing Afghanistan, a country in which they had a common mission for 20 years. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

CANNES, France — For a town that derives its very essence from its annual May celebration of world cinema, the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival in 2020 due to the pandemic came as a big blow. But thanks to falling infection rates and rising vaccinations, Cannes' red carpet and its iconic festival have returned with couture glamour and cinematic ambition.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated June 8, 2021 at 3:27 PM ET

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face as he shook hands in a crowd during a visit Tuesday to a small town in southern France. Two men, both age 28, have been arrested. They risk three years in prison and a $50,000 fine over an attack on a public official.

The scene, which was filmed, shows Macron working a rope line in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage. While shaking Macron's hand, a man is able to slap the president's face before security intervenes.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Gibert Jeune bookstore has held a prominent place on Paris' Place Saint Michel for decades, its yellow awnings nearly as iconic as the plaza's fountain statue of Saint Michael slaying a dragon.

Here, generations of students, intellectuals, bibliophiles and tourists have perused outdoor book stacks before heading to one of the surrounding cafes in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

But in a blow to the left bank neighborhood, the iconic store shuttered its doors this spring. Teacher Pascale Nédélec says Gibert Jeune meant something to generations of students.

A secret recording of an opulent clandestine pop-up restaurant in a private Paris mansion, with patrons flouting mask mandates, has sparked outrage and a police inquiry in France. The high-priced menu promises Champagne and foie gras; in the footage, a man tells a new visitor, "Once you pass through the door, there's no more COVID."

Paris chief prosecutor Rémy Heitz has ordered the judicial police's Brigade for Repression of Personal Delinquency to investigate the underground dinners, the prosecutor's office said in an email to NPR.

With just days to go until Great Britain officially leaves the European Union's single common market and customs union, the two sides appear close to a trade deal.

But there has been particular apprehension along a stretch of French coastline that is home to the massive cross-channel rail and ferry port of Calais, and Europe's largest seafood processing platform. A dispute over fishing rights — a small but highly symbolic sector — has been one of the main sticking points to a trade deal between the EU and the United Kingdom.

Four French police officers have been suspended and are in custody after a video that shows them brutally beating a Black man was posted online Thursday.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In his victory speech last night, President-elect Joe Biden noted that U.S. elections are viewed far beyond our borders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Tensions between Turkey and France are rising, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott on French good and slams French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "French Islam."

The increased friction follows the beheading of a teacher in France after he showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Police in France raided numerous homes Monday in a sweep of suspects alleged to have offered online support for last week's beheading of a schoolteacher who had shown his students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the Interior Ministry said.

The raids come as thousands have poured into the streets in France to show solidarity in the wake of Friday's attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, where history teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was killed by a man later identified as an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen.

In the orchestra world, conducting and music directing are still male-dominated fields. In the United States, less than 10% of orchestras are directed by women. In Europe, the figure for major orchestras is less than 6%.

Police in France are investigating whether terrorism was the motive for an attack that seriously wounded two people near the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's former Paris offices, where a dozen people were gunned down by Islamist extremists in 2015.

Authorities say they have arrested two people in connection with the assault, which reportedly involved a sharp object that one witness described as a hatchet.

Suzy Margueron, a retiree in Paris, usually walks five miles a day, so she knew something was wrong when she barely had the energy to make it to the grocery store in the spring. As it turned out, she was infected with COVID-19. She spent a week collapsed on her couch in March.

Even after recovering, the effects of the pandemic continue to create particular challenges for her. That's because Margueron lost nearly all of her hearing as a young woman — and trying to communicate with people wearing face masks makes daily life exceedingly difficult.

Cpl. Waverly B. Woodson Jr. was an Army medic in the only all African American combat unit in the Normandy invasion on D-Day.

He got seriously wounded that June 6, 1944, but went on to help save scores of his fellow soldiers' lives.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to posthumously award Cpl. Woodson a Medal of Honor for his heroism.

The French government announced Thursday that face masks will become mandatory everywhere in Paris and its suburbs, including all outdoor public spaces. The heightened mask requirement comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in France jumped to more than 5,000 in the previous 24 hours — the highest increase since the country came out of lockdown in mid-May.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated on Aug. 6 at 8:06 a.m. ET

In April 1945, Madame Roos wrote a letter to French authorities describing her piano she was hoping to get back. Roos, who was 72, was Jewish and her piano had been stolen when Nazis emptied her apartment in Paris.

A similar fate befell many of the 75,000 French Jews deported to concentration camps during World War II.

Crowds marched through the streets of the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise over the weekend to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traoré, a French Black man who died in police custody on July 19, 2016, his 24th birthday.

Leading the chants of "Justice for Adama!" was Traoré's older sister, Assa Traoré. She claims the police killed her brother, and for the last four years, she's been fighting to hold them responsible. Due to public pressure in France since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, Traoré's efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

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.

Pages