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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Africa
5:16 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Tunisian Poll To Provide Bellwether For Arab Spring

A Tunisian woman in the capital, Tunis, walks past a wall covered with posters of political candidates, on Oct. 20. Tunisia touched off the Arab uprisings this year, and it is holding elections Sunday to draw up a new constitution.

Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 9:42 pm

Tunisians, who touched off the Arab uprisings and rid themselves of a dictator nine months ago, are now going to the polls to elect a constitutional assembly. There is pride, confusion, but mostly optimism ahead of Sunday's vote.

The people of Tunisia had basically one choice at the ballot box for the last 50 years. But now they have more than 100 parties and thousands of candidates to choose from. And they're getting a taste of a real political campaign.

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Europe
4:59 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

French Feminists Say 'Non' To 'Mademoiselle'

In France, feminists are trying to do away with the word mademoiselle, which they see as separating women into two categories — married and unmarried — in a manner men aren't subjected to.
Thurston Hopkins Getty Images

Feminists in France say the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal has forced the country to confront longstanding sexist attitudes. Buoyed by this new awareness, they are now taking on what they see as one of the most entrenched, if not discreet, barriers to gender equality in France: the word "mademoiselle."

In France, when you fill out a form — whether it's a job application or a parking citation — if you're a woman, you have to choose between madame and mademoiselle.

Too bad if you feel your marital status is nobody's business, there's simply no French equivalent of "Ms."

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Europe
7:53 am
Sat August 6, 2011

The French Are Getting Fatter, Too

Restaurants line a street of the Quartier Latin in central Paris.
Bertrand Guay AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 7:00 pm

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

As the United States struggles to cope with obesity rates, France is often looked to as a counterexample. Yet obesity is on the rise there as well now, and though French culinary traditions are often credited with keeping people trim, some worry those eating habits are under assault.

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Europe
5:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Some Worry French Military Stretched Too Thin

France has been engaged on numerous military fronts this year as the country's armed forces back up President Nicolas Sarkozy's active foreign policy. The French military's quick success in ousting Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was lauded, but other interventions — like the one in Libya — drag on, leaving many to wonder if public support and the country's budget will be able to keep pace.

Analysts say the French military is in crisis, strained by restructuring and budget cuts, and tested by three simultaneous conflicts abroad.

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Europe
12:01 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Strauss-Kahn's Future In Politics Cloudy

As the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to weaken, many in France are speculating about whether the former head of the International Monetary Fund can revive his political career. New charges in France and the nonstop media coverage of the saga seem to be weighing against him.

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