France is known to support freedom of speech and press, but just like all of Europe, pressure for local providers to follow the EU Data Retention Directive (DRD) is high. Citizens not wanting to have their online data collected and logged would be better off opting for a VPN provider not bound by any data retention bills or logging policies for Europe. From 2009 up until 2013, French internet users also faced a very controversial three-strike online copyright infringement law named ‘HADOPI’. Although it faced strong opposition, it took almost four years for the government to revoke the law, stating the punitive penalties we’re far too rich to fit the crime.
Beyond privacy and security concerns, there’s plenty more to gain from opting for a France friendly VPN service. For one, French expatriates exist in high numbers, the latest government stats count over 1.6 million nationals living outside of France, with 75% of them being professionally active. And what better to cure home sickness with some classic French television? “Oui, on veut la télé Française de chez nous!”
Canal+, TF1, EuroSport and more can all be accessed from anywhere in the world by connecting to a secure VPN server located in France. Additionally, you could take advantage of French programs and networks from Belgium, Switzerland, and Quebec, Canada. Vice-versa, French Canadians often use VPN services to access international French language channels.
« Alors, comment on fait? C’est simple, on s’abonne au VPN de notre choix, deuxièmement on installe le logiciel, pour enfin sélectionner un serveur dans le pays de notre choix. Une fois connecter sur le VPN, les sites de diffusions seront accessibles pour la région. »
But that’s not all. What about all the French internet users still living in France? Just like the majority of connected countries, they face geo-blocking of websites and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC One, and so on. Using a VPN allows an internet connection in France to access US Netflix and other geologically restricted content. Let’s get to it and quickly visit my top picks for Best VPN for France;
ExpressVPN – Full Review
ExpressVPN is the luxurious choice of the bunch. A little higher on price, but able to deliver a superior customer service experience with state of the art servers that guarantee fast speeds, or your money back for a 30-day period. Great coverage of France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland plus many more, quickly rank ExpressVPN as a top contender for French speaking users seeking global access. Although the setup guides and tutorials are only available to paying members, it’s worth pointing out how great they are, for any unusual or external device setup, such as routers, game consoles or Apple TV. I find the software to be some of the best I ever tested, matched with awesome customer support, the price is justified if you can afford it.
IPVanish – Full Review
Another great, affordable choice is IPVanish providing maximum possible speeds and reliability. A strong contender for global coverage, the service includes over 80 European servers with a strong presence in France, Switzerland, and also covering Belgium. Easy to use software makes IPVanish one of the simplest and quickest services to signup, install and use. They pride themselves on being the fastest VPN provider, but from my experience, the customer service quality also adds great value to their service. Lately, IPVanish kicked up their streaming game a few notches by teaming up with HBO NOW to provide HBO’s streaming service to the world. Big marketing move on HBO’s part as well, finally!
NordVPN – Full Review
Very affordable, fast speeds and strong customer support helped NordVPN rank on the list. Although not as large as other providers, they have a headache free no log policy that supports P2P with a larger presence in Europe. However, the service made sure to take care of all the details by offering usage specific servers such as Double VPN and Tor over VPN for double the encryption, Ultra Fast TV servers in US, UK, Canada, and standard servers with low loads including France, and Switzerland. The service lacks access to Belgium at this time.
PureVPN – Full Review
Arguably one of the best valued VPN service for the cost is PureVPN. With 5 simultaneous connections, and 450+ servers across more than 100 countries, you get speed and coverage and low cost. France, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland are certainly covered, but you can rest assured that any other major location will also have fast VPN servers to cover all your needs. No logging and P2P is also supported on specific, secure server locations.
Private Internet Access (PIA) – Full Review
A great choice for the budget conscious consumer, PIA delivers a functional VPN experience void of frustrations. They don’t have the greatest global coverage, but enough to serve most, and make up by having an overkill amount of servers and bandwidth. France alone is supported by 54 servers at the time of writing this, with 54000 Mbps of bandwidth. The online test showed a minimal loss of 10% of my broadband connection. Dozens more locations including more than 1000 servers in Canada ensure coverage for most VPN streaming needs. Private Internet Access is also very much respected for having a clean track record free of any logging activity and supports P2P. At this time, there are no servers for Belgium.