France best selling albums ever: Mieux Qu’Ici-Bas by Isabelle Boulay (2000)
By the end of the 90s vocal Canadian singers from Quebec were insanely popular in France. The obvious example of Celine Dion was only the top of the iceberg with Garou, Bruno Pelletier, Linda Lemay, Lara Fabian (although born in Belgium) and many more hitting large successes. Their anti-star image was highly loved and it wasn’t Isabelle Boulay, maybe the least known singer ever to sell a million copies of an album who would contradict that trend.
Her 1999 debut album wasn’t exactly a smash yet peaking at #60 and charting for a mere three weeks. Powered by surprising #2 hit Parle-Moi, follow up album, Mieux Qu’Ici-Bas, started much stronger at #7 in September 2000, peaking on second week at #6. After four weeks inside the Top 10, the album continued floating around the Top 40 before coming back at #9 in February 2001. Then more months mostly inside the Top 40, then new jump to #7 in October 2001. Play the story on repeat until a #9 week in March 2002.
This gives you a very intriguing with only ten with Top 10 but spread over six spells and spanning 18 months. As it often happened for such enduring albums, it was ultimately excluded from charts due to the 2-year limit despite riding Top 70 still at that time.
Despite never entering the Top 5, this consistency gave Isabelle Boulay album her first (and last) Diamond album after only 26 months, in November 2002. As the album was certified 3xPlatinum a few months earlier with relatively modest sales in-between, there is no ambiguity about the fact it just passed the million mark by the time of its award.
After a decent 50,000 copies sold in late 2002 and 2003, the album stopped selling really well. Including the 2CD pack with Au Moment D’Etre A Vous, estimates put it at 75,000 copies sold since early 2004.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,125,000 copies.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: SNEP, IFOP.