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.
France has been slowed in its vaccine rollout by the large number of people who say they are opposed to vaccinations. But the rapid spread of COVID-19 appears to be changing some skeptics' minds.
As U.S. performing artists struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic, those in France are benefitting from an unemployment system that takes into account the intermittent nature of their work.
From France to Germany to The Netherlands, citizens are venting frustration over the pace of the mass vaccination program.
Government officials in France are under fire for the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. The country has one of the highest death tolls from the pandemic in Europe — more than 66,000.
In Europe's most densely populated city of Paris, where there have been two long lockdowns because of the cornavirus, a beloved river is helping many people get through it all.
Europeans, weary of the long Brexit saga, see the final bill of divorce inked on Thursday by European Union and United Kingdom negotiators as a Christmas present.
"It's not like we have the Atlantic Ocean to fish in," a French fisherman tells NPR. "Here, we're in the Channel. In an hour and a half, I'm in English waters. If that's off limits, I'm dead."
France and the U.K. have eased border restrictions imposed after a new strain of the coronavirus was detected in Britain. Thousands of French and other European truckers had been stuck in Dover.
Long lines were already forming at the port of Calais as French truckers tried to get goods into the U.K. before post-Brexit customs rules kick in. But new pandemic restrictions made them even longer.
French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus and will quarantine for a week, his official residence announced.