Canal+ (or Canal Plus) is a popular French-language TV station. Its website hosts several live streams as well as a strong selection of on-demand content. However, this service is only available to users living in France and Luxembourg. To access Canal+ from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, or anywhere else, your best option is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN service gives users the option to connect to servers outside their own country. In addition to encrypting their network traffic, these remote servers can trick websites into believing the user is located somewhere they’re not. For example, using a French server will unblock Canal+ and similar French services.
If you attempt to watch from another country without a VPN, you’ll likely be shown an error (in French): Impossible d’accéder au contenu, veuillez vérifier votre connexion internet. This roughly translates to “Cannot access content, please check your internet connection.”.
Every VPN is different, and choosing the right one is vital. Some are too slow for streaming HD video, while others offer a larger range of security options or better customer support. To find the best VPNs for Canal+, we looked for services with the following characteristics:
- Multiple French servers to choose from
- Stable connections and fast speeds
- Capable of unblocking Canal+ and similar streaming services
- Strong encryption
- Minimal logging, preferably no logging at all
Here is our list of the best VPNs for Canal+:
This service has three French servers which can unblock platforms like Canal+, TV5 Monde, and Netflix France with ease. These servers are fast enough to handle HD or even 4K video without any noticeable buffering, stuttering, or lag. With three simultaneous connections permitted, you can stream safely while keeping your other commonly-used devices protected.
ExpressVPN takes your security seriously. It uses 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy to keep your traffic safe from prying eyes. There’s also a kill switch that blocks any traffic when the connection to the VPN is lost. For more anonymity, users can sign up using the optional onion site and pay with bitcoin. Further, ExpressVPN doesn’t log any information which could identify individual users. Live chat and email support are available 24/7.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android systems. Selected network routers are supported but these must be configured manually.
READER DEAL: Get an extra three months free with ExpressVPN’s annual subscription. This includes a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can receive a full refund if unsatisfied.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN has 130 servers across France, and each is optimized to provide the best streaming experience possible. This service can unblock a huge range of platforms including US and French Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Canal+. With six connections allowed at once, NordVPN enables you to protect all of your devices with a single account.
With ad-blocking and anti-malware monitoring features built-in, this VPN allows you to easily stay safe online. It uses 256-bit AES encryption, and comes with a highly configurable kill switch, but there’s also the option to use multiple VPNs or combine your VPN with Tor. NordVPN doesn’t log any of your activity or session information and can be paid for using bitcoin, making it a strong choice for privacy-conscious users.
This provider offers MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android apps. Manual installation is required on Linux-based systems and some wireless routers.
EXCLUSIVE: Cut your monthly costs to just $3.99 by choosing NordVPN’s two-year deal. That’s an overall saving of 66%.
Read our full NordVPN review.
CyberGhost has 103 French servers to choose from. Users can select one manually or be assigned one based on a list of activities including torrenting, browsing the internet anonymously, or unblocking streaming sites. Most of these sites are based in the US and UK (for instance, Amazon Prime Video and ITV), but CyberGhost can also unblock many that aren’t mentioned by name in its list, Canal+ included.
This VPN is easy for novices to use but offers a good range of security options for more experienced users. 256-bit encryption combined with a kill switch, no-logs policy, and protection against IPv6, DNS, and port forwarding leaks ensures your traffic is never visible. Anti-malware, ad-blocking, and HTTPS redirection features are also included.
This service has apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS devices. It can be manually installed on Linux-based platforms and supported routers.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
IPVanish has very little impact on your connection speeds and is capable of unblocking numerous different streaming services including Canal+, ITV Hub, and TV5 Monde. It has 23 servers in France, so you should always be able to find one that gives you a great streaming experience, even during peak times. Up to five connections are allowed at once, giving you the freedom to watch however and wherever you choose.
This service uses 256-bit encryption and DNS and IPv6 leak protection by default. There are more advanced features, including a local traffic blocker, a kill switch, OpenVPN obfuscation, and timed IP address switching. IPVanish’s no-logs policy ensures your activities remain private at all times.
IPVanish has apps for MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. IPVanish works with Linux systems and selected routers, but these require manual configuration first.
SAVE 60%: Comparitech readers can save up to 60% on IPVanish plans. These include a 7-day money back guarantee so the service can be tried risk-free.
Read our full IPVanish review.
While PrivateVPN only has two servers in France, it’s still capable of providing above-average speeds. Additionally, it can unblock a wide variety of different platforms and services including Netflix, Canal+, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. As six simultaneous connections are permitted, PrivateVPN is ideal for people looking to protect lots of devices at once.
This VPN uses 256-bit encryption and protects against both DNS and IPv6 leaks. It includes an optional kill switch that ensures you never have to browse the internet without protection. Further, this VPN service has a no-logs policy, meaning neither your activities or session data can be shared, even if requested by a third party. 24/7 live chat is available, and the staff can even remotely install or troubleshoot your connection, with your permission.
PrivateVPN apps are available for devices running Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS. Manual installation is necessary for Linux systems and wireless routers.
BONUS MONTHS FREE: Sign up to PrivateVPN’s annual plan and you’ll not only save more than 70% on the total cost, but you’ll also get an extra five months absolutely free.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Can I use a free VPN to watch Canal+?
While using a free VPN might seem like an easy way to stay safe online, we advise against going down this route. First of all, free VPNs lack the network infrastructure of their premium counterparts, yet they have more users. This leads to slow connections, choppy video, and ultimately, a frustrating experience. Also, streaming services have begun trying to block VPN users, so there’s a good chance that a free VPN simply won’t work.
It’s important to remember that free VPNs are businesses. As they don’t charge users directly, their survival relies on finding other ways to create income. Sometimes this is done by placing ads on the sites you visit, but these services can also track your activities after disconnection and sell the resulting user profile to third parties without your knowledge.
Recently, we’ve seen several cases where free VPNs prey on people who are simply looking to protect themselves online. Some such services have harvested more data than was necessary, come bundled with malware, or sold user bandwidth to be used in a botnet. In fact, a recent study showed that numerous free VPNs don’t actually encrypt your traffic at all. To keep yourself safe, we recommend using a reputable VPN service with a proven record of protecting its customers’ privacy.
See also: Best VPNs for France
What is Canal+?
Canal+ is a TV network, like NBC in the US, or the BBC in the UK. It primarily broadcasts dramas and documentaries, however, the network does have channels devoted to sport and movies (Canal+ Sport and Canal+ Cinema, respectively). One of the platform’s strengths is that it offers a selection of American TV shows that are dubbed in French, instead of being subtitled.
An international version of the channel (Canal+ International) is available in some parts of Canada, but Canadians currently cannot access the online content library. However, the TV channel is set to be rolled out to the rest of Canada and to the US in the near future. So this could mean the online content will be opening up too.
Do I have to register to watch Canal+ online?
The Canal+ website has a big button that reads S’abonner (“Subscribe”) at the top of the page. This is slightly confusing, because all of the website’s content can be viewed for free, and indeed, news clips can be watched from any location, not just France or Luxembourg.
In fact, users don’t have to register at all in order to watch content on the Canal+ site. The subscribe button actually allows users to pay for a Canal+ TV subscription. This unlocks additional channels using a box that plugs into your TV, similar to a traditional cable package but with lower monthly costs and fewer channels to choose from.
If you see an error that reads “Une erreur intern a été détectée. Veuillez réessayer.” (“An internal error has been detected. Try again.”), it’s possible you’ve forgotten to connect to a French server. Connect, and force a hard reload on the web page by holding the CTRL key and pressing F5. Mac users should hold Command and Shift, then click the reload button.
What can I watch on Canal+?
Canal+ offers a variety of French TV shows, but there are also dubbed versions of many popular US titles. Below, we’ve listed some of the platform’s must-watch content:
- The Assassination of Gianni Versace
- This Is Us
- Jour Polaire
- Paris Etc.