French Wikipedia

The French Wikipedia (French: Wikipédia en français) is the French-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. This edition was started on 23 March 2001,[1] and has 2,158,772 articles as of December 18, 2019, making it the fifth-largest Wikipedia overall, after the English-, Cebuano-, Swedish- and German-language editions, the largest Wikipedia edition in a Romance language. It has the third-largest number of edits. It was also the third edition, after the English Wikipedia and German Wikipedia, to exceed 1 million encyclopedia articles: this occurred on 23 September 2010.[1] In April 2016, the project had 4657 active editors who made at least five edits in that month.

French Wikipedia
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available inFrench
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
Launched23 March 2001 (2001-03-23)

In 2008, the French encyclopaedia, Quid, cancelled its 2008 edition, citing falling sales on competition from the French edition of Wikipedia.[2]

As of June 2014, Wikipedia has an Alexa ranking of 6 and 5.06% of those visits are to the French-language edition.[3] As of December 2019, there are 3,621,000 users, 164 admins and 59,430 files on the French Wikipedia.[4]

On 2 December 2014, the French-language Wikipedia encyclopedia became the 3rd[5] linguistic edition by number of registered users since its creation, overtaking for the first time the German edition, with 2,022,504 registered users,[6][7] behind the English (23,300,456)[8] and Spanish (3,401,493)[9] language editions.

According to a 2013 study by the Oxford Internet Institute, Ségolène Royal (FR) and unidentified flying object (objet volant non identifié) were the most controversial articles on the French Wikipedia.[10]


Origin of edits (2014/01 – 2014/03) Source
United Kingdom
United States

The audience measurement company Médiamétrie questioned a sample of 8,500 users residing in France with access to Internet at home or at their place of work. Médiamétrie found that in June 2007, French Wikipedia had: 7,910,000 unique visitors that visited the site at least once during the month of June 2007 (compared to 4,355,000 unique visitors in June 2006); 2.7 visits per visitor during the period (2.0 visits in June 2006); had held the 12th position (21st in 2006) in "the Top 30 most visited sites in France, excluding Internet applications," according to the criterion of the number of unique visitors and 12th position in "the Top 30 most visited sites in France, including Internet applications," like eMule or Real Networks (22nd position in June 2006).

By August 2011, French Wikipedia was the 7th most visited site in France, with nearly 16 million unique visitors a month (according to Médiamétrie). In April 2012, it had 20 million unique visitors per month, or 2.4 million per day[12] with over 700 million page views.[13]

For the majority of the external links referenced in the articles, a program running on French Wikipedia automatically generates a link titled [archive], which is the union of two parts: the first one starts with,[14] and the second is derived from the referenced URL.[15] Even if the referenced external link is readable, the one generated can't be accessed nomore. Nonetheless, this feature seems to be created for the long-term digital preservation of the external references.

In 2019 the French Wikipedia has 425 thousand unique categories. The average article in this language version has 18 categories, while number of unique categories per articles ratio is 0.203. The largest number of articles has Society (17%) and Geography (17%) category. In French Wikipedia articles related to Crime and Events has the highest average quality. Content about Crime is read more often and has the highest authors' interest on average.[16]


  1. "Wikipédia en français dépasse le million d'articles". ZDNet France.
  2. Litchfield, John. "France's favourite encyclopaedia falls victim to Wikipedia." The Independent. Wednesday 20 February 2008. Retrieved on 26 June 2013.
  3. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  4. "Wikipedia Statistics - Tables - French".
  5. "List of Wikipedias by edits per article".
  6. fr:Spécial:Statistiques
  7. de:Spezial:Statistik
  8. Special:Statistics
  9. "Estadísticas".
  10. Taha Yasseri; Anselm Spoerri; Mark Graham; János Kertész (8 July 2013). "The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis". arXiv:1305.5566v2 [physics.soc-ph].
  11. Erik Zachte (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Wikipedia Page Views Per Country – Trends". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  12. "Wikipédia dépasse 20 millions de visiteurs/mois en France (Médiamétrie)". ZDNet. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  13. "French Wikipedia at a glance". Archived from the original on 30 May 2012.
  14. a fixed string that links to the of
  15. e.g. in the article of the President François Mitterrand, reference n. 1 contains the link, for which the French Wikipedia has generated the link Trying to open it, it returns the error message can't connect db.
  16. Lewoniewski, Włodzimierz; Węcel, Krzysztof; Abramowicz, Witold (2019). "Multilingual Ranking of Wikipedia Articles with Quality and Popularity Assessment in Different Topics". Computers. 8 (3): 60. doi:10.3390/computers8030060.
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