France is a country that is known for encouraging freedom of expression around the nation. Unfortunately, the government and authorities are not as respecting of individual privacy, as state-wide surveillance has been a constant theme in recent French history.
But that shouldn’t stop citizens from taking measures to safeguard their online privacy and thwart government attempts to keep you under watch.
This is why VPNs are important tools to have for any French citizen or traveler to France to ensure your privacy remains intact.
6 Best VPNs for France in 2020
Here are the top 6 VPN services for online security and anonymity in France.
PureVPN has 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries overall, and 42 0f these servers are located in France alone. So, if you happen to be moving abroad for a while and are concerned about losing access to French streaming channels such as RTBF, TV5Monde, and France24, you can rely on PureVPN’s french servers for this purpose.
The offshore servers are efficient for accessing USA-only streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime.
The provider is based in Hong Kong, and thus takes advantage of the lack of data retention regulations in its jurisdiction to provide zero logs for customers. Considering the heavy surveillance underway in France, this log-free service makes PureVPN an excellent choice for the French and travelers.
Furthermore, the service offers extra features such as split-tunneling and killswitch as added protection for your privacy on the web. All PureVPN packages come with 31-day money-back guarantee and offer 5 simultaneous connections.
For more information, read this PureVPN review.
Surfshark is running a network of 1,000+ servers in 60+ countries, including France. It is the fastest VPN service we have found so far. Although this is smaller than its competitors at the top level, users in France can still unblock a lot of geo-restricted websites and obtain IP-masking protection with these servers.
There are a number of French servers in this network for users who aren’t looking to bypass geo-restrictions and just want to faster speed that nearby servers naturally offer. The servers in France are useful for expatriates that have lost the access to banking websites or streaming services that only work within the borders of France.
The provider has its jurisdiction in British Virgin Islands, which is another country that lies outside of the 14 Eyes and is thus has laws that respect user privacy. This is why it is one of the VPNs suited for privacy-conscious users in France.
Surfshark doesn’t stop here. It offers excellent privacy-boosting features such as CleanWeb, MultiHop, and WhiteLister. What’s more, it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and 30-day refund policy.
At the price of $1.99/mo , it is an economical VPN choice for French users.
Check out this Surfshark review for more details.
Ivacy offers 9 exclusive servers in France out of total number of 1000+ servers in 50+ countries. After connecting to the French server, you can watch famous French channels like France24 and Euronews from overseas without any trouble. Likewise, the service allows you watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other popular international services while staying in France.
In terms of security, Ivacy delivers a comprehensive list of privacy features such as kill switch, port forwarding, zero-logs and anonymous payment options that help you protect your online activities and other whereabouts. If you want to get Ivacy, you will have to pay $2.25/mo . This way, you can avail other benefits like 5 multi-logins and 30 days money back guarantee as well.
Read this Ivacy VPN review for more detail.
NordVPN currently has more than 5,500 servers in 60+ countries, and 207 of these are situated in France. This huge infrastructure of servers makes NordVPN just as good for offshore geo-restrictions as it is for local ones.
If you’re in France, you can use these offshore servers for all kinds of purposes, including unlocking titles exclusive to US Netflix and watching French broadcast channels like France2, France3, and France4.
The service is headquartered in Panama, which is a country highly favored by privacy advocates. This VPN can be your answer to government surveillance threatening privacy of citizens in France.
Additionally, NordVPN comes packed with valuable features such as Onion over VPN, killswitch, and DoubleVPN. With a 30-day refund window and 6 simultaneous connections.
Although it is higher priced at $3.49/mo than some other providers, it is one strong package of overall privacy and security in France.
Read NordVPN review for more details.
ExpressVPN has an impressive 3,000+ network of servers located in 94 countries including France. You can unblock all types of content unavailable in France due to geo-restrictions or plain censorship by utilizing these servers. With such strong unblocking capabilities, it’s also one of the best VPNs for streaming TV shows and movies.
The provider has its headquarters in British Virgin Islands and has an excellent reputation for protecting user privacy. Since it is located in a country far from the reach of 14 Eyes, it is one of the safest providers for privacy-conscious users in France.
ExpressVPN is also highly efficient for streaming and torrenting purposes. Copyright infringement in France is taken very seriously with heavy penalties. The killswitch and strong default protections built into ExpressVPN is good for safe torrenting.
In addition, the provider offers killswitch, split-tunneling, and server obfuscation to keep your private information fully protectd from agencies and cybercriminals in France.
However, ExpressVPN is a pricey option, costing $8.32/mo . It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a single account permits 5 simultaneous connections.
To learn more about this service, see our ExpressVPN review.
CyberGhost has a network of over 5,500 servers in 90+ countries. Of these, 418 servers are located in France alone. This gives you a lot of options to choose from a diverse pool of offshore as well as local French servers.
The service is based in Romania. The country is known for going against EU directive for data retention and has no logging requirements of its own. For users in France concerned about domestic surveillance, CyberGhost can be quite beneficial.
CyberGhost is good for almost all use cases that VPNs are in demand for, from streaming and torrenting to general browsing. So, if you’re unhappy with the smaller content library of Netflix France, you can use CyberGhost to gain access to Netflix US.
You also get 7 simultaneous connections and 45-day money-back guarantee at a price of $2.75/mo for CyberGhost.
You can consult this CyberGhost review for more details.
What about using free VPNs?
Providers that offer free VPNs can also be a lot of help when unblocking French websites and content. However, you should be extra careful when choosing a free VPN service, since a lot of these have a reputation for being shady fronts for data harvesting agencies.
However, here are some reliable VPN services that you can use – with some limitations – free of cost.
You can view this list of free VPNs for more information.
Why do you need a VPN in France?
VPNs offer several benefits that are particularly applicable to users in France. Online surveillance, for instance, is a serious privacy-intrusive issue in the country. Other than that, geo-restrictions apply in France like any other country. For these problems, VPNs offer an easy solution:
- Countering mass surveillance: In July 2018, the Military Planning Law (LPM) was amended which gave extended surveillance powers to anti-terrorist investigators in the country. The official reason given by the government for this surveillance is “national security”. However, the fact that agencies and military have sweeping powers to access private user data without their consent makes it a violation of individual privacy. As such, mass surveillance has pretty much become normalized in the country, and that is a problem that needs changing. VPNs serve as the first line of defense against invasions of online privacy and this is why they are becoming quite relevant in France.
- Unblocking french TV channels abroad: Expatriates and travelers moving away from France usually have to face the problem of losing access to local websites that only work within France. These usually includes local banking as well as streaming services. You need to obtain a French IP address in order to gain access to these services abroad. Some of the most popular streaming channels that French expatriates watch are RTBF, France2, France3, France4, France 24, TV5 Monde and so on.
Are VPNs Legal in France?
Yes, VPNs are absolutely legal in France. However, this doesn’t imply that anything you do under the protection of a VPN becomes legal as well. As such, VPNs are legal, but they don’t give you the license to ignore etiquette or the rule of law on the web.