Most modern English learner's dictionary use defining vocabulary. It is good idea to define lemmas in a learner's dictionary with just limited number of words and even doing this with multi-layer strategy. Which French learner's dictionaries for adults use defining vocabulary?
I do not think that such a dictionary about the French language (as far as I know) exists.
To the best of my understanding of your question the books below could consist of a starting point for constantly increasing French vocabulary for Anglophones.