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 best cater for novice sportsmen and women. I’ve done some research and compiled a list of the best French locations for beginner skiers – keep reading to find out more.

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Meribel

Best French resorts for beginner skiers - Meribel

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

Best French resorts for beginner skiers - Les Arcs

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

Best French resorts for beginner skiers - Tignes

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 for 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.

69 Comments

  1. denise smith
    November 17, 2012

    THIS WOULD BE MY KIND OF VACATION

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Denise, what part do you like the best? France? Snow? Something else?

      Reply
  2. amanda roach
    November 18, 2012

    so beautiful. one of my goals is to try skiing.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Amanda, I learned there and had a blast!

      Reply
  3. Rosa Espinal
    November 18, 2012

    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!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Reply
  4. april yedinak
    November 18, 2012

    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.

    Reply
  5. Huguette E.
    November 18, 2012

    I’ve never skied before but this looks amazing!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Huguette, it is a great spot to learn!

      Reply
  6. Rebecca Sinclair
    November 19, 2012

    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! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Rebecca, I learned to ski in France and it was an amazing experience!

      Reply
  7. Lindsey
    November 19, 2012

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Lindsey, food and chocolate chaud are almost the best parts!

      Reply
  8. Shauna
    November 19, 2012

    I have been to Les Arcs and LOVED it… Great post

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Shauna, it is beautiful isn’t it?

      Reply
  9. abbigayle warner
    November 19, 2012

    looks so amazing!

    Reply
  10. Judy W
    November 19, 2012

    I have never been on a ski trip but would love to go one day!

    Reply
  11. Laura Lane
    November 19, 2012

    HOw Gorgeous!
    I wish I could travel. Maybe someday.

    Reply
  12. Coley Nowak
    November 20, 2012

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

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Coley, they definitely snow board in all these spots,

      Reply
  13. Amy Davis
    November 20, 2012

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Amy, I learned to ski there and they are very gentle on beginners!

      Reply
  14. Lady Jennie
    November 20, 2012

    This is great. Now that my youngest is 4 we definitely want to do this (oh, if only we can find the funds!)

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Jennie, they have such great ski schools for kids in France, they’ll love it!

      Reply
  15. Colleen Boudreau
    November 20, 2012

    I’d love to go skiing but I’m so uncoordinated it probably wouldn’t turn out so great.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Colleen, I am TOTALLY uncoordinated and I managed to survive, you’d do fine!

      Reply
  16. Bonnie Way
    November 20, 2012

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

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Bonnie, well the kids will grow up and you can do family skiing!

      Reply
  17. Erin
    November 21, 2012

    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. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Erin, the resorts I have been to in France, Switzerland and Italy have all been amazing, I highly recommend it!

      Reply
  18. michelle riebeek
    November 21, 2012

    I don’t ski myself but how AMAZING would it be to ski in France!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Michelle, it is a great spot to learn!

      Reply
  19. gigi
    November 23, 2012

    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!)

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Gigi, ocuh! Sounds like something I would totally do! All these spots have snowboarding too!

      Reply
  20. Linda
    November 24, 2012

    I’ve been to les Arcs and it’s great.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Linda, so beautiful right?

      Reply
  21. laura
    November 24, 2012

    Thanks for the reviews! My husband and I were just talking about taking a ski vacation.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Laura, hope you have a great time!

      Reply
  22. Milsters
    November 25, 2012

    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.

    Best
    Milsters

    (www.littlepiecesoflight.com)

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Milsters, I am a beginner and thought France was awesome for skiing – snowboarding too!

      Reply
  23. Daraya
    November 25, 2012

    I love skiing but I haven’t gone in several years! I should definitely go soon….

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Daraya, where would you head to?

      Reply
  24. Raine
    November 25, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  25. Norman Lau
    November 26, 2012

    Would love to go there someday.

    Reply
  26. Julie G.
    November 26, 2012

    Love the photos – makes me want to visit, for sure. Maybe I should take up skiing…

    Reply
  27. Lori Alcorn
    November 26, 2012

    wow I would love to visit this place I really miss snow being in florida

    Reply
  28. nickie
    November 26, 2012

    The mountains look gorgeous. I love that they have beginner areas.

    Reply
  29. Bernice
    November 26, 2012

    Its so beautiful …Would love to learn how to ski

    Reply
  30. Tara Liebing
    November 27, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  31. robin
    November 27, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  32. mp phaiah
    November 27, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  33. rich morris
    November 27, 2012

    This is one of my dream vacations! It just looks so beautiful

    Reply
  34. Marlee
    November 27, 2012

    Oh wow – I definitely want to visit. It is SO Beautiful! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  35. Sarah p.
    November 27, 2012

    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

    Reply
  36. Vicki Howes
    November 28, 2012

    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.

    Reply
  37. Danielle B
    November 28, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  38. Anna P.
    November 28, 2012

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Anna, if you’re still in CO you must! I hear it is wonderful there!

      Reply
  39. julieh
    November 28, 2012

    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.

    Reply
  40. Thomas Murphy
    November 29, 2012

    I have never been to any of these places but would love to check out Tignes.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Thomas, it is a great spot!

      Reply
  41. Richard Hicks
    November 29, 2012

    I am intimidated by some of those slopes. I only want to ski only slopes with barely an incline. LOL!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2012

      @Richard, me too and they have them…those are the only ones I really like!

      Reply
  42. Derek Timm
    November 29, 2012

    This looks like an awesome place to be! I would really love to visit!!

    Reply
  43. latisha depoortere
    November 29, 2012

    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.

    Reply
  44. Samantha Meyer
    November 29, 2012

    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!

    Reply
  45. Melinda
    November 29, 2012

    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)!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 30, 2012

      @Melinda, France is a wonderful spot for skiing, any choice will be a good one!

      Reply
  46. Sylvia
    December 17, 2012

    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!!!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      December 18, 2012

      @Sylvia, I love Megeve, it is so beautiful!

      Reply

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