The food you must try on your next trip to France

Your mentor, Dave, has visited the country more than 10 times.

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Welcome back for another dose of travel mentor advice and inspiration! This week’s mentor has discovered the key to luxury travel without breaking the bank.

I met Dave a few years ago when I attended his travel rewards seminar. Travel rewards are often earned in the form of points as a kickback for using certain credit cards. These points can then be redeemed for free flights and hotels. Dave writes a blog and newsletter called MilesTalk where he shares his tips about travel rewards, owns a website where he recommends the best credit card for you, and runs a Facebook group with almost 5000 members who discuss their travel rewards strategies.

Dave has collected millions of travel rewards points. He’s redeemed them for hotel stays that would have otherwise cost as much as $10,000 and flown in first class for free more times than he can count. Watch this quick tour of an airplane apartment that Dave booked with rewards points and you’ll understand why he gets excited about the flight just as much as the destination.

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Advice from Your Mentor

Remote work seems so normal these days, but Dave was working remotely many years before it was cool. He remembers having to book hotels based on whether or not they even had Wifi! His flexible work schedule has given him the freedom to work from anywhere, which has helped him travel to countries all over the world. I asked him some questions about his time on the road. Let’s learn!

I’m visiting a new place for the first time. What advice would you give me?

Dave’s favorite way to explore is by walking. On his first day in a new destination he’ll often start by choosing a central spot in the city and use it as a starting point. From there, he’ll wander off with a few main points of interest in mind. He always stumbles upon things that he would have missed had he taken a taxi or hired a guide.

Check out GPS My City for free self-guided walking tours in cities all over the world.

How do you immerse yourself in local culture when you travel?

Grab a coffee and find a good spot to people-watch. Parks or city-centers are great for this activity. Dave does this almost everywhere he travels, and loves to strike up conversations with the locals who pass by. One of the best places to interact with locals is on public transportation. Dave always tries to take the city subways and buses to spend as much time as possible immersed in “everyday life”.

Destination Spotlight: France

Dave has visited France more than 10 times. He’s explored a number of French cities on foot, and driven miles across the country on self-guided road trips.

Why France?

We’ve all seen the romantic Paris love-stories on TV and the Eiffel Tower panorama shots, but France is also so much more than that. There’s the French Alps, full of ski resorts and mountain views. The French Riviera, dotted with beaches and coastal villages. And plenty of places to learn about the country’s history, with topics ranging from the French monarchy to World War II. The French culture, especially the food, is what keeps Dave coming back. He also speaks a little French, which he enjoys being able to practice on his trips to the country.

Can’t Miss List

“Travel wouldn't be the same for me without experiencing local food.”

French cuisine is huge part of French culture, and it’s the primary focus of most of Dave’s visits to the country. He avoids the expensive restaurants and instead opts to order many items from the menu at more affordable places so he can sample all of the local food. Here are some of his favorites:

Fondue

A communal dish of melted cheese usually heated by a portable stove and eaten by dipping bread.

Raclette

Another cheese dish (there are as many as 1600 different types of French cheeses 🧀), but this specific type is eaten by heating it up under a heat lamp and then scraping the melted parts onto your plate.

Tartiflette

This dish is a combination of potatoes, cheese, pork fat, and onions. Not sure if the French have comfort foods, but this sounds like it could be one.

Quenelles de Lyon

Traditionally quenelles are prepared in more savory flavors, but if you’re looking for something sweet, there’s a variation made of white chocolate wrapped around a hazelnut or almond filling.

Travel Tip

If you see a bunch of French locals waiting in line for something, alway join them! This is one of the ways that Dave “does like the locals do”. It’s easy to be in a rush to see everything and skip out on a long line, but if the locals are waiting for it, then you probably should be too.

Planning Advice

Learn a few common phrases in French! Although most French citizens speak English, especially in the cities, locals love when foreigners start a conversation in their native language. They will often overpower your attempts to speak French anyway, seeing an opportunity to practice their English!

Check out Duolingo for a free and fun way to learn the basics of a new language.

Learned something from Dave? Leave a comment on this post!


Follow Your Mentors

Read Dave’s latest travel rewards news and advice at MilesTalk.com.

Let Dave recommend the right credit card to fund your post-pandemic adventures at YourBestCreditCards.com.

Apply to join the discussion and get answers to frequently asked travel rewards questions at the MilesTalk Facebook Group.

You can stay up-to-date on Dave’s travel adventures on his Instagram @milestalk

Dave has been such a valuable resource and has saved me literally thousands of dollars on travel through his advice on earning and redeeming rewards miles and points.

“Just travel in whatever way makes you happy. Some people feel a need to see everything in a guide book. Sometimes, just connecting with the place you are visiting is more important than checking all of the tourist boxes.”

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Your Travel Mentors provides insight from travel experts that can’t be found anywhere else on the Internet. A uniquely curated and easily digestible publication of authentic experiences and travel stories, provided by experts, and delivered weekly to your inbox. The travel mentors that contribute to the content you will read have made traveling their lifestyle. These experts will deliver weekly travel inspiration, help you discover new destinations, and teach you about what makes their favorite places so special.

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