Best VPNs for France – Comparing 22 Providers

Martin Gschwentner

In terms of the number of movies produced per year, the French film industry is Europe's most successful, with exports like Lupin, The Intouchables, or Amelie all leaving their marks around the world. There are more though, waiting in French media libraries to be discovered by a wider international audience, however, accessing them outside of France is difficult.

That is unless you use a VPN to circumvent annoying geographic restrictions. VPNs not only make it possible to surf anonymously, they also allow anyone to access servers around the world. To watch content from French media libraries, all you'll need to do is connect to a French server and voila!

Visitors from abroad are unable to access most content from French media libraries, such as here from france.tv.

Of course, media libraries and streaming platforms don't look kindly upon users accessing their content in this manner since it conflicts with their terms of usage, doing pretty much everything within their power to clamp down on VPN access. In our comprehensive evaluation we looked at 22 providers, and below, will tell you which are best for streaming French content.

Best VPNs for French Content

We selected our Top 5 based on three criteria: How they fared in our comprehensive evaluation, how their French servers perform, and finally, how many of our four media libraries/streaming platforms they enabled access to.

Speeds were continually assessed as part of our standard speed test in order to compile an average. In the "Performance" section of this article, you can find the 10 best providers in France, based on their speeds alone.

During our comprehensive evaluation, we determined how well-suited a VPN service was for video streaming based on its ability to stream foreign content on three internationally established platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+). For France, we concentrated instead on TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+.

Below, you can find out Top 5 VPNs for accessing French content from abroad:

1.

NordVPN

Best Overall 2021
NordVPN Test
NordVPN
(728,033)
5400+ servers, 60 countries
Excellent performance
No logs
6 devices simultaneously
Inexpensive 2-year package
NordVPN combines speed, user-friendliness and functionality into a coherent overall package that is also fairly affordable.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
+3 months
Summer Deal
NordVPN 2-year plan
$3.30
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Best Overall
4.7 / 5
excellent

We haven't created many VPN lists or rankings on which NordVPN doesn't make an appearance. The top-performing provider from our sample performed excellently in each aspect of our evaluation, combining its superb speeds (first place in our ranking) with a high level of user-friendliness, plenty of features, and strong security. Rounding things out, a NordVPN subscription won't break the bank.

More than 230 of the provider's 5,400 VPN servers are located in France, and they make their presence felt. For our French speed test, NordVPN missed out on the top spot by a hair. We were able to access all four platforms using NordVPN, making it our first choice.

Top provider from our comprehensive evaluation owing to its excellent performance

Top speeds in the French speed test

Enables access to TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+ content

Offers limited protocol options

Review Score
4.7 / 5
04/2021
excellent
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.7 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.7 / 5
Server Network
4.3 / 5
2.

Surfshark

Surfshark VPN Test
Surfshark VPN
(79,079)
3200+ servers in 65 countries
Unlimited number of devices
Many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
Saves no logs
Very cheap on the 24-month plan
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but besides the price also impresses with strong protection, many features and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
$2.49
monthly price
Visit Website »
Get 83% Discount
Review Score
4.4 / 5
good

NordVPN came second in our French speed test to none other than Surfshark. But, the relatively young provider isn't just fast: Surfshark manages to pack plenty of features and configuration options in an intuitive application, at an unbeatable price. For these reasons, the service was named our price-performer winner.

Surfshark's French servers, although unknown in number, are located in Paris, Marseille, and Bordeaux. As mentioned above, these provide excellent speeds. Unfortunately, we only had success with three of the four streaming platforms: TF1 did not let us access French content from abroad.

Price-performance pick

First place in our French speed test

Enables access to france.tv, 6play, and Canal+ content

Does not make it possible to access TF1 content

Review Score
4.4 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Performance
5.0 / 5
Installation and Features
4.7 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
4.0 / 5
3.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Test
ProtonVPN
(30,248)
Strong focus on security
1200+ servers in 55 countries
Headquarters in Switzerland
Solid performance
Open Source & external audits
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
ProtonVPN Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website »
30 days money-back guarantee
Review Score
4.3 / 5
good

ProtonVPN provides security, user-friendliness, and a wealth of features in a fantastic VPN package. But that's not all: The provider was our first choice among free VPNs owing to its high speeds and lack of data limits.

Only paid subscribers ("Plus" and "Visionary") can access streaming content. For France, the provider offers 45 servers to "Plus" and "Visionary" subscribers, but only 13 to "Basic" subscribers. So far as French server speed is concerned, ProtonVPN took third place, with it being possible to access all four streaming platforms.

Enables access to TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+ content

High speeds

Offers 45 servers in France

Limited support options

No streaming in the "Free" or "Basic" versions

Review Score
4.3 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Installation and Features
5.0 / 5
Security and Privacy
5.0 / 5
Performance
4.3 / 5
Customer Support
3.7 / 5
Server Network
3.7 / 5
4.

Mullvad

Mullvad VPN Test
Mullvad VPN
(425)
750+ servers in 36 countries
Anonymous registration / no logs
Independent security audit
Excellent Performance
Very simple pricing
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
2
Contract Period
1 month
Mullvad Flatrate
$5.90
monthly price
Visit Website »
Review Score
3.7 / 5
good

Mullvad VPN didn't achieve a high place in our comprehensive VPN ranking, primarily owing to its relatively small server network, lack of features, and rudimentary support. All the same, the Swedish VPN provider did impress us with its commitment to user security and privacy, reinforced by regular external audits. When it came to performance, Mullvad posted solid speeds.

18 of the provider's 700 servers can be found in France, propelling Mullvad to fourth place in our French speed test. In addition, we were able to access all four streaming platforms and view geo-locked content from abroad with Mullvad.

Enables access to TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+ content

Good speeds

Provides a high level of security

Relatively small server network

Offers less features than other services

Review Score
3.7 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Security and Privacy
5.0 / 5
Performance
4.0 / 5
Customer Support
3.3 / 5
Installation and Features
3.3 / 5
Server Network
2.7 / 5
5.

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN Test
PrivateVPN
(9,336)
Good Performance
Simple user interface
Well suited for streaming
Only 100 servers
No external audit
Data volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
PrivateVPN 24 Months
$2.50
monthly price
Visit Website »
Review Score
3.6 / 5
good

PrivateVPN was another provider that didn't stand out during our comprehensive evaluation, owing to its (tiny) server network (100 servers) across 63 countries. Despite its name, PrivateVPN has not submitted to any external security audits and lacks some commonly sought-after features like split tunneling.

Its client did impress us and its speeds were good as well. The same holds true for France, despite only having a single server in the country. Similarly, we were able to access French content on all four streaming platforms we tested PrivateVPN on.

Enables access to TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+ content

Has solid speeds

Tiny server network

Has not submitted to any external security audits

Review Score
4.2 / 5
04/2021
good
Visit Website
Bedienung & Features
5.0 / 5
Customer Support
4.3 / 5
Performance
4.0 / 5
Server Network
4.0 / 5
Sicherheit & Privatsphäre
3.7 / 5

How We Tested

As part of our comprehensive evaluation, we assessed and compared 22 providers from top to bottom, attempting to do so as objectively as possible. Each review is divided into six categories, five of which are scored and explained in greater detail below:

Installation and Features

A desktop client or app is your gateway to a VPN network, so we paid particular attention to which devices and operating systems each provider supports and offers software for. These should be as user-friendly as possible, offering the most important features as well as configuration options and settings. The best performing services were those that combined ease of use and intuitive design with an abundance of features.

Server Network

Server networks should contain as many servers in as many countries as possible. Put simply: The more, the better. Those VPN providers which scored highest in this area offer thousands of servers across dozens of countries.

Performance

The most important facet of our performance scoring was how each provider fared in our VPN speed test. We continually assessed each provider's speed, computing an average upload and download speed. Apart from that, we also looked at how each VPN did on a daily basis, in terms of surfing and video streaming.

In order to determine which provider is best for streaming French content, we gauged the speed of each provider's French servers. As of the time of testing, the Top 10 fastest were:

The chart below shows which French media libraries or streaming services each VPN enables access to:

ProviderTF1france.tv6playCanal+

Surfshark

NordVPN

ProtonVPN

Mullvad

PrivateVPN

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

TorGuard

TunnelBear

PIA

Security and Privacy

Before all else, VPNs should be concerned with security, making how they handle your data and privacy essential in their rating. As nearly every provider makes a "No-Logs" promise or guarantee of some sort, we look beyond this, reading through the fine print of their privacy policies to let you know whether there's any cause for concern. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, and for VPNs that means submitting to external security audits. We deduct points from providers that haven't taken part in these. Beyond that, we also perform a number of VPN leak tests and assess each provider's general security practices.

Customer Support

To receive a high support score, a VPN should make getting in touch with their support staff as easy as possible, answering emails or support tickets within 24 hours. We particularly like to see live chats which provide immediate assistance. Of course, static support is important too and should include a well-curated and full-text searchable help center with plenty of guides and FAQs.

Overall Result

The five services listed above are the best from our sample when it comes to reliably streaming French content from abroad. On the other hand, if you're looking for the best VPN services in general, which can also be used to access French content, we suggest taking a look at our provider ranking below:

NordVPN
Review Score
4.7 / 5
excellent
Visit Website
ExpressVPN
Review Score
4.7 / 5
excellent
Visit Website
Surfshark
Review Score
4.4 / 5
good
Visit Website
ProtonVPN
Review Score
4.3 / 5
good
Visit Website
HideMyAss!
Review Score
4.3 / 5
good
Visit Website
hide.me
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
Private Internet Access
Review Score
4.1 / 5
good
Visit Website
CyberGhost
Review Score
3.9 / 5
good
Visit Website
Windscribe
Review Score
3.9 / 5
good
Visit Website
PureVPN
Review Score
3.9 / 5
good
Visit Website
VyprVPN
Review Score
3.8 / 5
good
Visit Website
Hotspot Shield
Review Score
3.7 / 5
good
Visit Website
IPVanish
Review Score
3.7 / 5
good
Visit Website
Mullvad
Review Score
3.7 / 5
good
Visit Website
VPN Unlimited
Review Score
3.7 / 5
good
Visit Website
PrivateVPN
Review Score
3.6 / 5
good
Visit Website
TorGuard
Review Score
3.6 / 5
good
Visit Website
TunnelBear
Review Score
3.5 / 5
good
Visit Website
ZenMate
Review Score
3.5 / 5
satisfactory
Visit Website
Avast
Review Score
3.4 / 5
satisfactory
Visit Website
Perfect Privacy
Review Score
3.3 / 5
satisfactory
Visit Website
Avira
Review Score
3.2 / 5
satisfactory
Visit Website

Conclusion

France is considered the birthplace of cinema, and it should come as no surprise that the country has a lot to offer in this area, even in the 21st century. Unfortunately, geographic restrictions and limitations have followed inter-connectedness and digital evolution, making it impossible to access content available in France from abroad, that is, without a VPN. The services we've briefly introduced above are all safe bets for accessing French content from TF1, france.tv, 6play, or Canal+, allowing practically anyone to enjoy French films or TV shows.

Unfortunately, most streaming services frown upon this practice, attempting to close the loopholes that VPNs exploit to provide access. As of the time of testing, all providers in our Top 5 were reliable, however, for more detailed information about each, as well as the other 17 services from our sample, be sure to check out our comprehensive VPN evaluation.

FAQs

Why should I use a VPN to access French content?
Most French streaming content is geo-locked, meaning that you'll need a VPN to access it from abroad. A VPN allows you to legally trick these platforms into believing that you're physically in France, granting you access to the content.

What is the best VPN for France?
Our overall winner, NordVPN doesn't only offer the best overall package, it also performs excellently for accessing French content from all four streaming platforms (TF1, france.tv, 6play, and Canal+). Second and third place were taken by Surfshark and ProtonVPN, respectively.

Is it legal to use a VPN in France?
Yes, even though it conflicts with most terms of use for streaming platforms or media libraries. These prohibit access from abroad for legal reasons since they license content for specific countries or regions. Use of a VPN goes against these licensing agreements but doesn't make you, the end-user, culpable. In other words, you don't have to worry about any legal consequences.

Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
Translator & Editor: D Bare
Other languages:
Deutsch Italiano 
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