Authorities across the globe have become increasingly invasive of our personal data. In France, intelligence agencies no longer need a court order to conduct surveillance, and any ISP can be tracked using “black box” algorithms.
It doesn’t stop there, either; lower-level hackers are already finding loopholes in the GDPR, the EU’s newest data protection regulation. Their attacks are usually conducted through public wifi at street cafés… and France has a lot of street cafés.
As a world citizen, you reserve the right to privacy. If you live in France or are merely visiting the country, now’s the time to begin thinking about getting a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN allows you to connect to servers anywhere in the world, which makes it harder for the authorities to pry on your personal data. With the right encryption cipher, tracking becomes fully impossible. With the right VPN, your identity, location, and sensitive information becomes completely safe.
Handily, it also allows you to access geo-restricted content by connecting to servers within that region. This means that you’re able to catch up on your favorite shows anywhere, whether you’re a tourist in France or a French person living or working abroad.
Which VPNs are really secure, though, and which ones are scams? Well, in order to find the best VPN for France, we’ve looked for these qualities:
- strong security and privacy
- combination of price and features
- a location outside the 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance group of countries.
Discover the best VPN for France: Our top security picks
1. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $8.32/month
- Features: great security, accessibility, geo-unblocking, torrenting
You wanted security; ExpressVPN has you covered. Though one of the pricier options for sure, Express is rightly considered one of the finest cybersecurity tools in existence and is, in our opinion, the second best VPN for France.
With applications for every major OS, it’s also one of the most accessible VPNs available, and its registry location on the British Virgin Islands means it’s well away from the prying eyes of the 5/9/14 group (which, of course, includes France).
Express’ credentials are bolstered by its AES-256-bit encryption, kill switch, and private DNS server, all of which constitute a borderline invincible security system. The VPN’s geo-unblocking abilities are also second-to-none, as it can reliably access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Go, Amazon Video, and many more without breaking a sweat.
Features such as split tunneling also enhance the user experience, as this allows the user to apply Express’ cybersecurity prowess to specific, isolated channels. In other words, you don’t have to worry about losing your cookie data and your mobile banking access (which often shuts down when accessed by foreign IP addresses).
When you’re paying above average for a VPN, you need to know if you’re getting your money’s worth; as you can see, with ExpressVPN you certainly are
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $8.33/month
- Features: great security, server list, torrenting, download speeds, support
Like ExpressVPN, this Seychelles-registered VPN is far outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliances. It’s also a great deal faster than our choice for the best VPN in France and costs round about the same amount per month. There are, however, certain important factors that differentiate Astrill VPN from Express in the grander scheme of things.
In general, Astrill was designed with gamers in mind. As a result, it has a dedicated torrenting client (P2P VPN) and extremely high speed downloading capabilities. This doesn’t make it a redundant VPN for regular web users as such – it’s just as airtight as ExpressVPN, to be sure – but there’s less emphasis on geo-unblocking with Astrill, which means it’s worth considering your options carefully when choosing between the two.
While it isn’t the best option for streaming services, Astrill does have the ability to unblock most other censored content worldwide. This may not be an issue in France where content censorship is relatively rare, but for French residents traveling to less permissive overseas territories, it’s worth noting that there are few domains Astrill can’t unlock. All in all, this is a reliable and sturdy little VPN that, depending on your needs, could be exactly what you’re looking for.
3. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $2.99/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, support
Running up in third place is NordVPN, another great VPN and certainly one of the best VPNs for France. Its positioning on this list isn’t indicative of less-than-optimum quality, of course; if you’ve heard of NordVPN, you’ve almost certainly heard good things about it. It just so happens that it’s not one of the most distinctive VPNs for the needs of French web users.
Its main advantage, really, is its price: at less than $3 per month, you can rest in the knowledge that your privacy is airtight, and your data is always completely secure.
Not only is it great for keeping your personal information away from the eyes of French intelligence agencies, it’s also great for unlocking geo-restricted content. As we said earlier, this is a must for many users vacationing in France, as well as French locals traveling elsewhere. If anything goes wrong, there’s always the fantastic support team that’s available 24/7!
4. VyprVPN ‣
- Location: Switzerland
- Pricing: starts at $5.00/month
- Features: great security, server list, geo-unblocking, torrenting, download speeds
Gamers can rejoice with VyprVPN’s custom-designed Chameleon protocol. This handy feature prevents your ISP from throttling your bandwidth allowance, which often tends to happen with data-heavy processes such as torrenting and gaming.
With its own private DNS server and AES-256-bit encryption, VyprVPN is also another highly secure VPN that benefits from its Swiss registry location. It thus has no data retention laws to comply to, which keeps it well away from the eyes of the 5/9/14 alliance.
VyprVPN is therefore a great mid-range, all-rounder VPN. This is reflected in its price, the reasonable five-dollar monthly starting charge, which is roughly in between the lower- and higher-end VPN charges. Although we cannot say with a straight face that it’s truly the best VPN for France overall, it’s certainly a great candidate if the information we’ve covered here happens to suit your needs and interests.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $3.49/month (or $1.99 from affiliates)
- Features: great security, geo-unblocking, torrent support, download speeds
This relatively new VPN is, to put it mildly, not perfect for all platforms. This is worth mentioning upfront: its kill switch is only available for the Windows app. Kill switches aren’t the most of your problems, but when every major VPN does have one, it’s slightly counterintuitive to go for the VPN that doesn’t always have one.
So why is Surfshark on a list of the best VPN for France? For one thing, it’s a supremely fast piece of software, running AES-256-GCM instead of the slower industry standard AES-256-CBC. This makes it perfect for torrenting.
It also makes it highly secure (though, again, this can only really be said for Windows Surfshark users). Better yet, as it’s registered to the British Virgin Islands, it is not required to comply to any data retention laws. This mean Surfshark is worth every cent of its relatively low asking price but remember: it’s only worth it if you’re a Windows user.
6. TorGuard ‣
- Location: USA
- Pricing: starts at $4.99/month
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
To say it’s located right at the center of the 5 Eyes alliance group, TorGuard is a remarkably bulletproof VPN that combines superspeed downloads with a great interface that supports torrenting.
Its comes with OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Stealth VPN, which are some of the finest protocols on the market. With an AES-256-bit encryption cipher, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch, TorGuard is basically as secure as can be in basic terms.
The only real issue is that its email client is Gmail, which has been known to be hackable. Of course, a lot of things would have to happen for any hackers to be able to find your email address through this, but it’s worth mentioning regardless.
Alas, while not the best VPN for France, TorGuard is great if torrenting is your gig. Despite its location and email client, there should be no issue to your security (although that’s always worth bearing in mind).
7. PrivateVPN ‣
- Location: Sweden
- Pricing: starts at $3.82/month
- Features: great speeds, security, geo-unblocking, torrent support
TorGuard and Astrill are lightning fast VPNs, and so is PrivateVPN. There is one important distinction, though: it’s much cheaper. If you’re a torrenting fan on a budget, then PrivateVPN may very well be the way to go.
First of all, though, we must make note of its Swedish registry location. This is a 14 Eyes country, so you may wish to go with something a little less risky overall. However, PrivateVPN has an independently audited no-logs policy, which should assuage any fears you have of the Eyes getting hold of your personally identifiable information.
If you do some digging into PrivateVPN’s mechanics, furthermore, you may notice that it only has a small fleet of servers. How does it manage to be so fast? Well, the company behind PrivateVPN purchases internet capacity straight from the IP transit provider, which is great forward thinking and saves a lot of processing power when you’re running this VPN in the background.
While PrivateVPN may not be the best VPN for France, then, it’s certainly the fastest. And for a starting price well within the lower budget ranges, you could certainly do a lot worse given its security measures and download speeds.
And the best VPN for France is…
There’s little competition: the best VPN for France is ExpressVPN. While this VPN might have slipped somewhat in other markets, the reason it remains France’s number-one choice is that it’s hyper-secure, ultra-reliable, and super great at unlocking geo-restricted content. Quite simply, there’s nothing else that compares for a great all-round experience.
Still, we acknowledge that it is quite pricey, so if you’re on a budget, you could always try NordVPN or Surfshark. Other viable options from outside the 5/9/14 Eyes countries include Nord, Surfshark, VyprVPN, and Astrill. The latter, furthermore, is a great option for fans of gaming and torrenting.
Read our full review here: ExpressVPN Review
If you’re in France, which of these VPNs have you used before? Did we miss any great VPN for France? Let us know in the comments below.