How to Watch US Netflix in France

Updated: February 25, 2016

  1. Begin by setting up a VPN account
  2. Then install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to watch US Netflix in France on
  3. Open VPN software and connect to US-based server location
  4. Open Netflix and sign into your existing account or create a new one if you don't have one already
  5. Enjoy US Netflix in France

How to watch US Netflix in France in more detail:

NOTE: In this guide I have used ExpressVPN to illustrate my experiences. In my view ExpressVPN is the best VPN currently available for streaming Netflix. You can find out more here:


When I got the call saying I was being posted to Paris for six months, and had to leave the following week, I had mixed emotions. OK, Paris is a beautiful city and my girlfriend was immediately looking at flights to come and visit me and dropping hints about Paris being a great romantic city. But on the flipside, we had just settled into our new apartment in LA and, worse still, we had just started watching the amazing series, House of Cards.

I am a late convert to political drama but having watched the entirety of the West Wing on Netflix we couldn’t wait to get started on this one. But once flights had been sorted it was only going to be three weeks before my girlfriend joined me for Christmas in Paris, so we could make good inroads then.


Or so I thought, and you can therefore imagine my horror when I settled into my Paris apartment only to find that US Netflix wasn’t available in France. Aargh. Yes, there is a French version, but that would mean I need to get a whole new subscription, on top of which it doesn’t have half the number of shows as the US version. I am alone in a foreign country; I need my Netflix.

Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before a solution presented itself thanks to a new American colleague who was also working there. “No problem”, he said. “You just need to get a VPN”. Is it really as easy as that?


Why is US Netflix not Available in France?

This is a simple question to answer and once I found out it made sense to me. TV and film rights are sold by country to different broadcasters and streaming services. If Netflix wants to stream a show in different countries, it has to buy different sets of rights.

As a US business, with most of its clients in the US it is therefore not surprising that it has bought the rights to more shows in the US than anywhere else. I know it has recently announced that it is ‘going global’ but whilst this means there is going to be some kind of Netflix service available in almost every country in the world, they are still going to be offering different shows in different countries, depending on which rights they hold.

The production companies who sell the rights are understandably sniffy about streaming services that make their program available beyond the countries which they are permitted to, so Netflix (and others) use something called geo-blocking which restricts the users of their individual services to those located within the region it is intended for.


How is US Netflix Blocking Access in France?

So, how does geo-blocking work? It’s really quite a simple technology. Every internet user communicates data known as an IP Address when they visit a website, or use any type of online service.

An IP address includes various bits of information, including the geographic location of the individual. This means that Netflix can see where in the world each of its users are located.

From here it is quite simple for them to limit the use of different services to different countries. So for US Netflix, if you IP Address indicates that you are based anywhere other than one of the 50 states (or DC), you cannot use the service.

Fortunately, the solution to this restriction is a simple one. Because a VPN is a service which re-routes all of your internet traffic through an external server, which can be located anywhere in the world. And if you use a VPN, it is the IP Address of this server, not your computer, which the website receives. So if the server is located in the USA, US Netflix suddenly roars into life again.

It's the perfect solution, and as I found out, setting up a VPN is really quick and easy. I chose Express VPN after doing plenty of research and taking recommendations from colleagues in the know, so I will now show you how to set up Express VPN to watch US Netflix in France.


How to Use a VPN to Watch US Netflix in France

Step 1: Sign up for VPN

The first thing to do is to visit the ExpressVPN website which you can do by clicking on any of the links on this page. Once you are there, you will have the option to subscribe to a variety of different packages. Choose the right one for you based on the length of time you need the service and your budget. If you are still nervous about committing, don’t worry. Express VPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee so if you are not completely happy, you will be refunded in full.

Once you have chosen, just follow the easy payment instructions which accepts methods used all over the world.

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Step 2: Download & Install VPN

Once your payment has been accepted, you will be invited to download and install the ExpressVPN software.

Again this is a very simple step-by-step process with clear instructions. All you need to know is what type of operating system you are using to choose the right download. Some packages will allow you to download the software onto multiple devices as well.

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Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN

When you have finished installing ExpressVPN, you will find yourself being invited to choose which of their servers to connect to. ExpressVPN have servers in numerous locations across the globe, but obviously to watch US Netflix you will need to select one of their US-based servers.

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It doesn’t really matter which one you chose, but once you have, you will need to wait for a few moments while your device connects to the server.

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Step 4: Setup US Netflix Account

Now, I already had an account with US Netflix so it was a simple case of logging into that account and I was away.

If you do not have an account, setting one up is also a quick and easy process. Having a US credit card will make the process simple, but if you don’t it is quite easy to work around the problem by using a US Zip Code, which you should be able to find with relative ease online. (I don’t believe Netflix check the Zip codes, so it doesn’t matter where exactly it is).

The registration process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and once complete, you will have free reign of US Netflix. It really is as easy as that.

Conclusion

So basically that’s it. Within a few days I was using Express VPN to access US Netflix, and other geo-blocked US sites as well. My girlfriend and I ploughed through two series of House of Cards, as well as enjoy as much romance as Paris could throw at us, and my time in Paris, so far, has certainly benefitted from being able to binge on a bit of US entertaining whenever I want.

Let me know if this process works for you in France in the comments section below, or if you encounter any problems. Sometimes Netflix can change things at short notice, so please do help me to keep this guide up to date.

Just to note that whilst I have tested a number of VPN’s and am yet to find a service more reliable than Express VPN, there are plenty of others out there. See above my pick of the top 5 VPN’s for accessing Netflix in France.

David Spencer
 

Freelance Writer working on tech, ICT, finance, politics, and sports articles for sites in the US, Europe, and Asia.

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