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Top 7 Ski Resorts in France for Beginners

Top 7 Ski Resorts in France for Beginners

The French Alps are known as one of the top ski destinations in the world for challenging runs, Olympic-class resorts, and impressive altitudes perfectly situated for catching fresh powder. Though many bold experts with years of experience favor the French Alps, one must remember that they all started from somewhere, making France a great destination for beginners as well. Read on to see our favorite ski resorts in France that have plenty of options for beginners who are just starting or are ready to take it to the next level. Each of the resorts listed below also offer a number of options for ski schools with instruction in English.


Ski areas are often in remote locations, and it’s possible that hotels and accommodations can be far from each resort. Driving your own car is the best option when traveling with ski equipment, gear, and bulky winter clothes. For travelers visiting Europe for an extended period of time, consider a long-term car rental or a short-term lease through the Auto France Open Europe Program.


Skiing in La Plagne

La Plagne ski area is a popular option for true beginners, as there are five free lifts and two free “magic carpet” lifts for skiers to get familiar using their equipment. A magic carpet lift is a wide conveyor belt that takes standing skiers up a low incline to the top of the nursery slope, so you can learn the basics of skiing without first having to master dismounting a chair lift. By offering many free options for beginners, you can learn at your own pace and progress without the guilt or pressure of wasting money on expensive lift-tickets. For those ready to progress to the next level, or those traveling in groups with more experienced skiers, La Plagne has something for everyone: in addition to the options for beginners there are also 9 green runs and 67 blue runs.

2 hrs 30 minutes from Geneva, or 2 hrs 30 minutes from Lyon

Resort Website: La Plagne Booking & Info


Skiing in Méribel

Méribel offers many options for beginners at different stages and ages. Beginners can choose from 8 free ski lifts, 17 “mini-pass” lifts (29€), or all of Méribel Valley for a 3-hour pass (44.50€). Several of the runs at Méribel are accessed by a pull-cord lift, which is a rope attached to the cable that tows you up to the top of the slope while standing; or by a drag lift, on which you stay upright but are given the support of a seat while the cable pulls you to the top. With access of many options, beginners can progress at their own pace, making Méribel not only a great destination for getting started but also a better choice for beginners eager to take their skills to the next level.

2 hrs from Geneva, or 2 hrs 15 minutes from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info



Skiing in L’Alpe d’Huez

L’Alpe d’Huez is home to six beginner ski areas that each have multiple drag lifts and chair lifts serving specific nursery areas in addition to 41 easy and short green runs and 34 more challenging blue runs, which are great if you are traveling with a group with varying levels of experience.

2 hrs 30 minutes from Geneva, or 2 hrs 15 minutes from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info

Cool Feature: Live Webcam


Skiing in Valmorel

Over half of Valmorel's ski area is classified as “easy”, making it a great option for true beginners or others just getting started. Though the entire resort here is quite large, accommodations are very close to the slope, meaning there is less hassle at the start of each day with most skiers walking from their doorstep straight onto the mountain. As a relatively newer resort, Valmorel is designed for convenience, with the nursery slopes served by chairlift that is set to a slow speed to allow beginners to build confidence and practice before advancing to the next level.

2 hrs from Geneva, or 2 hrs from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info


Skiing in Les Deux Alpes 

Les Deux Alpes is particularly thrilling for beginners, as its nursery slopes are at the highest elevations of the resort, above the more challenging blue and black runs. Often called an “upside-down resort” the beginner specific areas at Les Deux Alpes are at the top and feature the most breathtaking views, while in most other resorts the beginner runs are usually closer to the foot of the mountain. For those still getting acclimated to the elevations or simply prefer to be near the village, Les Deux Alpes also has some beginner runs and nursery slopes at the bottom of the resort. Beginners who spend the day learning at the high elevations at the top of the resort can choose to return to the village by making their way down the long but relatively flat Demoiselles run, or ride any of the 2-way chair lifts back down the mountain.

2 hrs 30 minutes from Geneva, or 2 hrs from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info


Skiing in Morzine

As one of the more convenient and accessible resorts in the Alps, Morzine is about 1 hour outside of Geneva, making it a great option for those who don’t have a lot of time to spend skiing during their travels. With a free zone for beginners serviced by drag-lifts and magic carpet lifts, Morzine also has several easier blue runs for skiers ready to advance their skills. Similar to Les Deux Alpes, Morzine also has an easy green run at the very top of the resort, giving beginner skiers the opportunity to practice their skills with a vantage point above the surrounding alpine scenery.

1 hr 15 minutes from Geneva, or 2 hrs 30 minutes from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info

Cool Feature: Book Classes & Instructors


Skiing in Val Cenis

Val Cenis is home to Europe’s longest green run, Escargot, allowing beginner skiers to build confidence and stamina while enjoying 10km of scenic and peaceful terrain. Additionally, Val Cenis has dedicated beginner-only areas and its more challenging runs feature a view of the stunning Lac du Mont-Cenis and the neighboring Italian Alps. The beginner areas lie near each of the resort’s villages, with Lanslevillard being the largest.

2 hrs 20 minutes from Geneva, or 2 hrs 40 minutes from Lyon

Resort Website: Booking & Info

What to bring, and what you can rent

Bring: Snow Jacket, Snow Pants, Snow Gloves, Thermal Layers, Extra Socks, Sunscreen, Goggles

You are better off bringing essentials like jackets and pants with you on your ski trip, to ensure that the clothing fits you properly and comfortably. Being comfortable and appropriately dressed can ultimately be an important factor in how enjoyable your whole trip will be. Waterproof gloves and extra socks will keep you dry throughout the day, and thermal layers will ensure that you are warm at high altitudes. Temperatures can change drastically on the mountains from freezing cold while it’s snowing to bright and warm when the sun is shining. Wearing and bringing extra layers makes it easier to adjust to the changing temperatures. Googles are much better suited for skiing than normal sunglasses, and because it’s no guarantee that the rental shop at your destination will offer googles for rent, it’s best to bring your own to make sure your eyes are properly protected from bright, reflective snow.

Rent: Skis, Poles, Helmets

If you are just starting out or are unfamiliar with sizing, professionals at any ski shop or rental shop can help you get fitted for your height, weight, experience level, and even for the specific conditions of the resort you will be visiting. We recommend renting your skis, poles, and helmets from a rental shop at or near your destination to make sure your equipment is appropriate for the occasion, and to avoid having to fly internationally with heavy and oversized bags.

Lease: Vehicle

With no additional fees for picking-up and dropping-off in different locations, a short-term lease through Auto France is especially ideal for travelers who will be coming from or continuing on to other locations before or after skiing in the French Alps. Though we suggest an agile crossover or a roomy SUV for your ski trip, you can choose from any of Peugeot’s fleet of new models through the Open Europe Program. Click here to reserve your vehicle.


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