http://fr.vikidia.org/wiki/ pages are in present tense?
What am I missing? Some of these sentences I stare at but I could swear they are in the present tense despite describing past events.
In French the present tense is often used for describing events that took place in the past to make events seem more vivid. I think you will acquire an ear for when it is appropriate.
@angiedaytripper : Thanks! I suspected something along these lines, maybe a style followed in encyclopedia entries but I couldn't find anything in searches that would explain it. I'm sure if I look around now for just "use of present tense" I'll find something now.
As a weird, mind wandering subject, I wonder what "duolingo" prefers for translations of these, since we don't do this in english (at least not in these cases). It is good practice of present tense translation but an encyclopedia entry written in the present tense about a dead author sounds very odd in English.