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Best French Resorts for Beginner Skiers

If you’re new to skiing and want to arrange a winter sports holiday in the famous French Alps, you’ll want to know which resorts cater to novice sportsmen and women. I’ve done some research and compiled a list of the best French resorts for beginner skiers – keep reading to find out more.


Best French resorts for beginner skiers - Meribel

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Located slap bang in the center of the Three Valleys skiing area, Meribel is a popular resort among Brits. The exclusive spot boasts a homely atmosphere, ten beginner trails and 34 slopes for intermediate skiers, so novices and fast learners are well catered for here.

Meribel is the ideal destination for French group skiing trips with children, as there are plenty of child-friendly sections to explore. The Acticross is one such spot, offering slaloms and jumps suitable for youngsters.

There are three beginner areas in Meribel, known as Zen Zones, where you can learn to ski at your own pace. The apres-ski scene is also buzzing, so groups of friends will find lots of evening entertainment in the way of restaurants and bars, the most famous of which is Rond Point.

Alpe d’Huez

Best French resorts for beginner skiers - Alpe d’Huez

The top resort of Alpe d’Huez has plenty of trails for all skiing ability levels, but the majority are ideal for beginners. There are 47 km of slopes for novices to try out during the winter sports season, which runs between December and April here.

Trails here are well-groomed and the hundreds of snow cannons ensure ideal conditions for skiing. Just above the resort are plenty of wide, gentle slopes, perfect for beginners, who can travel to the top of the trails via the free lift.

In addition to the abundance of beginner slopes, there are opportunities for off-piste action and snowboarding at the terrain parks and on the halfpipe.

When you want some time with your friends or loved ones away from the slopes, you can visit the indoor sports center for a game of tennis, head to one of the 30 local bars or enjoy a movie at the resort’s cinemas.

Les Arcs


Les Arc France

If you’re planning to travel with a young family, the resort of Les Arcs is ideal for a peaceful learn-to-ski break. The area consists of four main villages, and above each, you’ll find nursery slopes. Arc 1800 has the most varied selection of beginner slopes, and the lift is free for novices.

Much of the accommodation throughout Les Arcs is right beside the slopes, so you won’t have far to travel for your daily skiing fix. There are also some award-winning ski schools to be found throughout the resort.

There isn’t a noisy apres-ski scene, making Les Arcs ideal for people who want to relax in peace and quiet in the evenings. There are plenty of restaurants, saunas and massage services though.


Tignes, alps, France

The town of Tignes is often associated with advanced skiing, and while there are many trails here suitable for experts, there is also a sufficient number for beginners. Novices will find 22 runs that cater to their abilities, along with several ski schools where instructors are on hand to provide expert tuition.

A cosmopolitan resort, Tignes has plenty to offer groups throughout its many different areas. Traditional villages abound, and there are kids’ clubs to keep youngsters entertained. If you’re keen to experience the resort’s party atmosphere, head to the area of Val Claret, where you’ll find a good selection of bars and clubs.

How about you? Have you visited any of these spots? Know of any others?

Check out more winter wonderlands in my AFAR Wanderlist.

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  1. Now,I’ve never gone skiing,it’s not in me,but I could see myself enjoying the company of the young and their quest for life.Me I would surely be found perusing the menu and ordering a hardybreakfast lunch and dinner.What can I say,I LOVE FOOD!!!!!!!! 🙂

  2. I couldn’t ski to save my life, but I have been to resorts in Colorado and Germany and I still enjoy it because it is so beautiful up in the mountains. I like to look at the scenery and stuff myself on resort food and hot chocolate.

  3. I went skiing in Montana one spring break with a college buddy, and it was one of the best spring breaks ever! A few times down the bunny slope and I got the hang of it. I’m not the adventurous type – I prefer the long smooth slopes that guide you through beautiful scenery rather than steep death defying drops! 🙂

  4. I wish I could try skiing – I’ve never been and now with my herniated disk, it’s off limits. I should still tag along on a ski trip to enjoy the snow and raclette though!

  5. What about for snowboarding? This resort looks amazing. Hitting the slopes on a snowboard sounds so great right about now.

  6. I didn’t get a chance to ski in France when I visited as a student, although that’s probably for the best – I”m not too coordinated! These are gorgeous photos, by the way!

  7. Now I want to go skiing!!! However, this is the third time I’ve had a winter pregnancy… 🙁 no skiing this year!

  8. I think one of the things on my “list of things to try” is going to be skiing outside of the US. These ski resorts look beautiful! But, even I just went to visit, I think it would still be a great vacation. 🙂

  9. We usually go to Vermont or Colorado for skiing – and even then, I prefer snowboarding – (the first time I ever went skiing, I broke my nose before I even made it down the hill – yes, I’m that clumsy…….so perhaps I’m scarred for life!)

  10. I’m a long-time snowboarder – but yes, an amateur skier. (It was uncool to ski in British Columbia, Canada about Ross Rebagliati won the Olympic gold medal for snowboarding in 1998.) I would totally recommend Les Arcs for beginner skiers – it has great easily accessible runs for them. My partner’s family has a place in Tignes but I’ve never gone done the green runs there.



  11. Sadly I have not visited any of those places, or any other ski resorts outside of NY. We just got our 1st snowfall yesterday and between that and looking at those pictures and reading about the slopes has me impatient to go. I am probably in the Advanced category, but this is good information because I’d most likely travel with my family and I am the only skier, so we’d need beginner slopes!

  12. Wow this is so beautiful normally I’d say ick, snow! Because I see way too much of it here in SD and even though we get alot of snow I have never went skiing. These pictures make me want to visit love it!

  13. I’ve skied a few times when much younger… don’t know if I’d do it now again in my 40’s! But I’d love to sit in the chalet sipping hot cocoa and gaze at those lovely mountains!

  14. these look so beautiful to go to! my husband and i went skiing when we were younger and have talking many times about starting up again! maybe when our kids are a little older we can try Les Arcs!

  15. There are so many adventures that France has to offer, i would love to attempt skiing on the french alps. I have been dreaming of going to Paris since I was a very young girl, and one day I swear I will make it there! lol

  16. I wish I knew this before when my friends would take me to a mountain and sign me up so they could ski free. Needless to say I learned a lot about lodging it.

  17. I’ve always wanted to learn to ski, but I’m afraid I will break a leg! These look like beautiful places to go as well!

  18. These pictures are beautiful! But then, I’m a mountain girl(born and bred in the Colorado Rockies). Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten the chance to ski.

  19. I have only skiid once, and it was terrifying. I wouldn’t mind trying again in such beautiful surroundings. I’d be happy just to hang out and watch everyone else.

  20. This looks like a great place to visit looks like a lot of fun! I love the picture everything in one place 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. Oh my gosh these are such beautiful pictures! If I am even in that area I am going to have to go here, for the scenery alone! Thank you!

  22. I have no experience skiing so this guide is definitely helpful. For me I would have to decide between Alpe d’Huez and Tignes (though it would be nice to visit both)!

  23. I had a horrible accident while skiing in the Trois Vallées, part of the large resort that includes Méribel. I now prefere skiing a Megève. where there are lots of blue slopes and the cross country skiing is fantastique!!!