France may be a free and democratic country but that doesn't mean going online isn't without its risks, both from the French authorities, their EU overlords, and the myriad of hackers and cyber-criminals that plague the internet everywhere.
The question is, what can you do about it?
Most experts recommend using the best VPNs for France and a huge number of internet users are following their advice.
In this guide, we will explain which virtual private network is the best for users living or visiting France and tell you everything you need to get signed up and using the internet safely and securely in France.
We'll also show you which are the best for streaming and hopping geo-restrictions and plenty of other uses too.
Ready to discover which lead the pack? Let's dive right in.
Vive la France!
Best VPNs for France
Lets begin with the key information you are looking for. Here is a rundown of our top recommended VPN providers to use in France.
If you want to know how we whittled the hundreds of VPNs on the market down to this shortlist, we have explained in more detail further down this article.
- Best in class for France
- 200+ French servers
- Audited no log policy
- Great for streaming
- Fast download speeds
- Registered off-shore
- Doesn't accept paypal
Our top recommended VPN service for France is NordVPN.
NordVPN has more than 230 servers located in two locations in France. This is one of the biggest selection of French servers we have found.
As with all NordVPN infrastructure, these servers are optimised for speed and performance and offer some of the most consistently impressive VPN connections around.
Simply connect to any one of them, and you will have a French IP address instantly. These speeds make NordVPN the best France VPN for streaming.
It can unblock almost every popular streaming service like Netflix and Amazon Prime video and if you want to access content from neighbouring countries, there are literally thousands of servers in just about every European nation available.
NordVPN offers state of the art 256-bit AES encryption in addition to a huge range of VPN protocols security features, like the kill switch, which offer complete online security.
There is an independently verified no user logs guarantee too which means you privacy and security is guaranteed.
There are also some excellent user-friendly apps available for just about every device you can think of. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously too meaning you can always be safe online in France.
With a 30-day money-back guarantee and some great low prices, NordVPN really ticks all the boxes and is our pick for the best VPN for France.
Our #1 Recommended VPN
30-day money back guarantee
2. CyberGhost VPN
- More than 600 French servers
- Servers in Paris & Strasbourg
- 7 concurrent connections
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Strong encryption
- Apps bulky
If you are new to VPNs, CyberGhost VPN is well worth considering. It also has a wide range of great, user-friendly apps, but these are ideal for beginners with a single click option for almost every function to help you get connected to the best server for you.
The CyberGhost VPN server network is an impressive one too. There are 665 French servers available in two locations as well as plenty in neighbouring countries too. CyberGhost VPN also tests well for speed across its network too.
CyberGhost is also one of the best France VPN services as it is able to unblock most French streaming channels and it has the same military-grade 256-bit AES encryption and the advanced security features you will need too, including an internet kill switch.
The CyberGhost VPN no user logs guarantee is a dependable one and they also allow up to seven simultaneous connections with every account too.
Throw in a 45-day money back guarantee and some competitive prices, and CyberGhost VPN is another good option for users in France.
- Servers in Paris & Strasbourg
- Excellent download speeds
- Huge range of apps
- Strong security
- Great for streaming services
- Monthly package expensive
ExpressVPN is another good option for French VPN users with multiple servers located in three different settings across the country.
ExpressVPN is one of the most consistently fast VPNs we have tested and these speeds can be found across their network.
The security provisions with ExpressVPN are second to none as well with 256-bit AES encryption and all the key features you will need such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection. There is also a no user logs guarantee which has been given an independent seal of approval and can be trusted too.
ExpressVPN has one of the largest selections of apps of any VPN provider we have tested which means you can protect all your devices in France.
It can also unblock almost every video streaming service you can think of, and on multiple devices, too. Plus, it even offers split tunneling, so you can choose which apps to protect and which should be left exposed, which is something you don't see with all VPN providers.
It's not the cheapest VPN but it still has fairly competitive prices, advanced features, like port forwarding, the ability to unblock Netflix France, and up to five simultaneous devices allowed to connect as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee, ExpressVPN is another VPN service well worth considering in France.
- Strong security provisions
- Very fast download speeds
- Servers in France and nearby
- Apps for most devices
- Fewer server locations
- Unaudited no log policy
VPN.ac is one of the VPN providers that often flies under the radar, but this is a benefit for those that discover it, as it is one of the fastest and most secure VPNs around.
This France VPN provider comes with a kill switch, a 256-bit AES as standard plus a 4096-bit RSA key which is more robust than most other providers on this list. There is a rock-solid no user logs guarantee for privacy too.
If there is a downside to VPN.ac it is that it offers a small network but with France and other European countries covered, this should be too much of an issue for French users.
When it comes to speed, in our tests, VPN.ac was one of the most rapid providers we have seen and it puts this to good use when unblocking US Netflix and the BBC iPlayer too
Prices are reasonably competitive too and you get six simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee too.
- Easy to use apps
- Servers in Paris, Marseille & Bordeaux
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Unblocks lots of Netflix regions
- Newer unproven provider
- Unaudited no log policy
Surfshark is the new kid on the block but it has really made its mark on the France VPN market and is another good option for French users.
Surfshark has a big VPN server network for such a new provider with multiple reliable VPN servers, optimized and available in France and all neighbouring countries.
Its connection speeds are both fast and consistent and when it comes to unblocking streaming services, Surfshark is up to the task with most platforms.
Security-wise, Surfshark is up to the level too with 256-bit AES encryption as standard as well as the key features, like split tunneling, or double VPN, which can properly hide your traffic from internet service providers, as well as anyone else.
Sadly it lets itself down with its logging policies which may not collect user logs, but does record far more information than we would like.
But it does offer unlimited simultaneous connections, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and comes at some of the most affordable prices around too. Unless privacy is a really big deal, Surfshark is another good VPN for France.
- Large range of apps
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Great for unblocking streaming
- Unaudited no log policy
- Newer unproven provider
WeVPN is another young France VPN that has made great strides in a short space of time and definitely warrants a place on this list.
It has a modest network, but is present in 46 countries and is well represented in both France and neighbouring European countries. It is perfectly capable of helping you protect your web traffic while maintaining a decent internet speed.
The security provisions are excellent with 256-bit AES encryption as standard and the new WireGuard protocol used as default too. There is also a superb, transparent logging policy that we were very impressed by too. However, this hasn't been audited.
WeVPN's speeds are generally good but perhaps a little inconsistent in our tests. But they are excellent at unblocking most streaming services.
It has a wide range of apps for such a young VPN too and while these are not the very best on the market, they are more than adequate for most users.
You also get a whopping ten simultaneous connections, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and prices that are more than competitive.
- Huge numbers of servers
- Apps for most devices
- Accepts giftcard payments
- No log policy tested in court
- Unaudited no log policy
- Not the fastest
Last, but by no means least, on our list is Private Internet Access. This long-established France VPN has an extensive network in comparison with the big boys with France and Europe well represented.
There are an impressive range of apps all of which are packed with features and very user-friendly. Speeds are modest however and also a little inconsistent in our testing.
When it comes to streaming, PrivateInternetAccess is also not the best and we wouldn't recommend this one for all but the most basic platforms that don't try to block VPN users.
Security-wise, Private Internet Access offers everything you would expect and its no user logs policy is fine too although we are a little caution of US-based providers.
But with 10 simultaneous connections, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and decent prices, this is another secure VPN worth considering.
How to choose a VPN for France
So, with our top seven recommendations laid out for you, the question you might be asking now is, how do I choose the best VPNs for France for my needs?
Here are a few of the key criteria we have considered:
1. Servers for your usage
One of the big consideration is French server locations and numbers.
The closer the French server is to your actual location, the less drag your VPN should have on your otherwise reliable connection speeds. We have therefore looked at VPNs with multiple servers and preferably multiple remote server locations inside France.
The more servers there are, the more spread out users will be and this should improve speeds too. You can even find servers fast enough for online gaming, provided that you use the best VPN companies, with the fastest VPN connection.
Some users will want to use a VPN to access content that is not available or is blocked inside France. That why we have also given consideration to server numbers in neighbouring European countries too, which are outside French jurisdiction but will still be fast and effective to users in France.
Then there is the question of streaming content.
Users in France watch the same streaming platforms as most others around the world so we have focused on providers that offer servers in the most popular streaming locations like US Netflix and the BBC iPlayer in the UK.
2. Apps for your devices
Whether you live in France or travelling there, you are likely to be going online in a number of different ways.
A VPN is an essential tool for all of them so we have looked for VPN providers that can offer user-friendly and well designed apps for all the most popular desktop and mobile devices.
But this is the minimum expectation we have and the VPNs at the top of our list go even further.
NordVPN, our number one recommended provider, has apps for devices as diverse as Linux, the Amazon Firestick, Smart TVs, and even VPN-enabled routers.
Want to read your favourite books on your Kindle? NordVPN can keep you safe, want to do some online gaming on your favourite console, NordVPN has got you covered there too.
When choosing your preferred VPN, make sure it can work on all the mobile apps you will need it for.
3. No-log policy
VPNs are intended to keep your online activity private. In France, a country which is subject to EU data retention laws and a member of the Five Eyes alliance, this is as important as anywhere.
The thing to look for here is a no user logs guarantee. Most VPNs say they have one, but the devil is in the detail.
Always check the details or read our reviews to make sure that they are not collecting too much user information. Better still, seek out a VPN that has had its no user logs policy independently audited and approved. This means you can really trust why they claim.
All of our recommended VPNs offer a decent no user logs policy but some are definitely better than others so if privacy matters to you, we would recommend choosing our top-rated VPNs.
4. Fast download speeds
There is no avoiding the fact that using VPN services can impact your connection speeds. After all, you are diverting your internet data somewhere else first.
But the best VPN services have a negligible effect, especially when you are using a local server and these are the providers we have focused on.
With speed, it is not just the fastest possible speed that matters, but the consistency of speed. This is what allows you to enjoy internet access without buffering and watch any streaming site, play online games and so on without interruption, even if you are into streaming HD video.
All of our recommended VPNs can be used for all of this, especially since they feature unlimited bandwidth, but be aware that our top recommendations like NordVPN are definitely the best.
5. Strong encryption
Perhaps the most fundamental benefit of a VPN is the increased security it can offer.
This means the encryption levels have to be robust and all of our recommendations have a minimum of 256-bit AES encryption as standard. This is often called military grade and is essentially unbreakable so should be more than sufficient to hide you from third parties.
Even your Internet service provider won't know what you are doing while online, which is great for preventing internet surveillance, and securing your personal internet connection.
Some VPNs offer more additional security features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. Again NordVPN is a market leader here too.
Also, take a look at the protocols on offer. OpenVPN is the default for many providers but WireGuard is an increasingly popular choice since it is both secure, fast, and lightweight.
But whichever VPN you choose, as long as you are connected, you can be sure that your data will be secure from hackers and government spies when you go online.
Why you need a VPN for France
We often get asked why people need to use a VPN in places like France, which are free and open democratic societies.
There are a number of important reasons but here are the three biggies:
1. Online privacy
France may be a free and democratic state but that doesn't mean that unlike allies such as the UK and the US, it isn't keen to snoop on people's online activity and continually monitoring browsing history in the dubious name of security.
As both an EU and Nine Eyes country, France is also required to share this data with an alarming number of countries meaning that your online privacy is even more at risk.
You will also find plenty of public Wi-Fi networks in French stations, high streets, and cafes. These are great for getting online on the go but are notoriously insecure and it is easy for anyone to see what you are getting up to and even harvest your personal data.
A VPN stops anyone from being able to log what you are getting up to online, or illegally mining your browsing history. It also makes using public Wi-Fi safe and secure, even for such things as online banking and shopping.
It is an online safety net that is needed as much in France as anywhere else.
2. Access overseas content
Whether you are French or not, whether you are living in France or just visiting, there is going to come a time when you have exhausted the local library on offer from streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Perhaps you will want to access services that aren't available in France at all such as Peacock TV, HBO Max, or Paramount+, all of which will require unblocking geo-restricted content.
Maybe you even want to watch on free streaming platforms like the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, or to play video games and access online services not available in France?
If so, a VPN is the answer.
You can connect to servers all over the world and unblock all of these sites and overseas libraries for international streaming services simply by switching IP addresses. IP addresses will change each time you connect to a new server, granting you IP protection, anonymity and online privacy.
And its not just streaming services. There are plenty of websites that are not available in France that you might want to access, such as French language news outlets and content from Canada.
A VPN makes all this content and more available in France.
3. Torrent securely
Torrenting is a popular way to download and share files but it is by its nature insecure.
It is a process which involves sharing files from one user to another and a malicious user can use a torrent connection to hack into your system or worse.
Using a VPN is a great way to stay safe when torrenting. By encrypting your data and hiding your true identity, you can ensure that while you are torrenting you are secure and anonymous.
All of the VPNs we have recommended allow torrenting on their networks but needless to say, downloading content illegally is frowned upon.
How do I get a French VPN?
Once you have chosen your preferred French VPN, getting everything downloaded and set up is a lot easier than you might think.
To help, here is a simple step-by-step guide using our recommended service, NordVPN as an example:
- Sign up for NordVPN by clicking a link on this page, choosing your preferred package, and following their simple onscreen instructions to sign up.
- Download the NordVPN app onto your device. You should do this either from their official website or your app store.
- Open the app and log in using the account details you were given at the end of step 1.
- If you are already in France, click the quick connect button to connect to the fastest server available. If you want an overseas server, choose from their list and then click Connect.
- Wait a few moments for NordVPN to establish a connection.
- Use the internet as normal.
If you have trouble connecting or accessing your preferred site, just try a different server. If problems persist, NordVPN has excellent customer support that will be happy to help.
Is there a free VPN for France?
Free VPNs come with all sorts of problems and we do not recommend them.
Often they will have speed caps or data limits which mean you can do very little on them. Many only offer a couple of servers at the most and France is rarely on the list of locations too.
There can be huge security risks too.
Free VPN software frequently comes with malware, spyware, adware and more built in. Free providers often harvest and sell your data, many have links to the Chinese Communist regime, and some don't even bother with basic encryption.
If you must use a free VPN, consider PrivadoVPN, ProtonVPN or Windscribe. But for just a couple of Euro's a month, you are much better with one of the VPNs recommended above.
Every internet user in France should use a VPN for the security and privacy benefits they bring as well as to access blocked and unavailable content from overseas.
Our tests have found that NordVPN is the best VPNs for France thanks to its large network, great speeds, impressive security, reliable no user logs guarantee, wealth of extra features, and low prices.
All of the VPNs listed in this guide will do a job for users in France, but NordVPN was head and shoulders above the rest.