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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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?

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.

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It's been warmer than normal in the Alps. There's less snowfall, even some rain. And all of that is making skiing at lower-altitude resorts difficult. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report from this French ski town of Morzine.

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