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.
France battles a "monster" wildfire that has forced thousands to flee their homes. Wildfires in Europe this summer have broken out as heat waves bake the continent and renew focus on climate change.
Evacuation 200 is a special volunteer unit that scours the country for the bodies of soldiers left on battlefields. "My job is to accompany these heroes on their last trip home," one volunteer says.
A whale common to Arctic waters has been sighted in the Seine River in northern France. Authorities say they are trying to assess its health.
The town of Chernivtsi, once the wedding dress capital of the Soviet Union, is still churning out dresses — for the West. "We are staying in Ukraine," says a dressmaker. "We will build our economy."
A Ukrainian man is being forced to choose between the two: a wife and three children who have fled the country and aging parents who are trapped behind enemy lines.
The heat wave embroiling southern and central Europe is making its way north. A report says the heat with low rainfall means nearly half the EU's land area will be affected by drought this summer.
Russia is fighting to conquer the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. To help civilians escape, the Ukrainian railway runs a free evacuation train out of the east. Here's what it's like.
While Britons might be happy to see their prime minister go, Ukrainians hold him in higher regard.
In western Ukraine, far from the front lines, Ruslana Mygalyuk hires a clown to give children a night of laughter and fun. She doesn't plan to make a profit this year at her seasonal café.
Russian troops have taken Luhansk and are headed for Donetsk, pounding cities along the way. When Donetsk falls, which seems likely, Putin will have "liberated the Donbas." But will he be satisfied?