The objective of this study was to describe the hospital incidence rate and the in-patient costs of three peripheral “osteoporotic” fractures (proximal humerus and hip, distal radius and/or ulna) in women and men aged over 45 in France during 2001. Each stay for fracture was selected from the dataset of the French national hospital database in 2001. The incidence rate (CI 95%) was standardized by age and gender according to the last census of the French population (1999). The effect of age and existence of geographical difference in incidence rates has been studied. For each fracture, we described the number of stays, rate of surgical procedure and in-patient costs according to the 2004 French list of cost per diagnosis-related group (2004 Euros); 118,839 fractures were registered during 2001 (61% hip, 28% distal radius and 11% proximal humerus; sex ratio 0.26). The incidence rate for all fracture was 7,567 (7,519–7,615) and 2,312 (2,283–2,341) for 106 inhabitants in women and men aged over 45 years, respectively. The incidence increased significantly whatever type of fracture and gender. There were more fracture incidents in the east of France compared to the west and in the south compared to the north, whatever type of fracture in women and only for hip fracture in men. Surgical procedures were performed in 91% of proximal hip fractures, 83% of distal radius fractures and 53% of proximal humerus fractures. The median in-patient costs were 3,786 Euros for the humerus, from 2,363 to 2,574 Euros for the radius and from 8,048 to 8,727 Euros for the hip. The evaluation of the burden of peripheral fractures is possible using national hospital data in France. The incidence of fractures increased with age and is more common in women. Hip fracture with its higher occurrence, rate of procedure and in-patient costs could be used as a marker of osteoporosis for evaluating strategies of management.