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Bonnieux: Patisserie: Henri Tomas

7 Rue de la République , Phone: 04.90.758552

Closing day: Tuesday (and month of February)

Reviewed by: Kaydee from TN, review #1844

When: 2006

Perhaps the most famous baker in the Luberon, Henri Tomas runs a simple pâtisserie/boulangerie. Great place for coffee or a snack. Try his almond galette!

Directions: At the top of the village across from the Musée de la Boulangerie.

Henri Tomas in Bonnieux, photo by

Our family lived for 6-1/2 months outside the village of Bonnieux in the Luberon, and we now plan to return several times a year.

The pâtisserie/boulangerie of Monsieur Henri Tomas is one of our favorite spots in the village. Monsieur Tomas is a somewhat renowned personage in Provence, since his shop— and his photo— was included in Ruthanne Long’s book “The Markets of Provence” (see page 77). He has operated his shop for over 30 years.

There are two boulangeries in Bonnieux: one in the lower part of the village near the butcher and the pharmacy and then Henri Tomas’ shop on the upper part of the village across from the Musée de la Boulangerie (Bread Museum). Our family bought bread almost daily and patronized both bakeries. In addition to selling bread, croissants, pastries, and various confectionary items, Monsieur Tomas has a couple of tables in the front of the shop where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold drink and one of his wonderful creations. I usually order a café au lait, which is served in a big bowl-like cup with no handles. Our daughter loves the hot chocolate (chocolat chaud), also served in the bowl-cups. My husband just orders café noir, but even it comes in a cup much larger than usually served in France. Henri used to also operate a tea room upstairs during the tourist season, but he told us it’s no longer open.

We think Henri has the very best croissants in the area —his are perfectly flaky and buttery. We also often buy his pain chocolat. Sometimes he has small quiches. He is best known for his “galette provençale,” a sweet almond pastry of his own creation that is served warm in their shop. It’s served in several sizes and is a good treat to share. At Christmas time his shop was filled with holiday treats, including the beautifully-decorated Christmas logs called Les Bûches de Noël.

On our last trip Henri gave us a tour of his building. Hundreds of years ago the building housed an old olive mill and various rooms go deep into Bonnieux’s ancient hillside and fortifications, several containing remnants of the old mill. Today Henri Tomas’ shop is an unassuming and rustic place. Villagers and tourists come and go throughout the day. Monsieur Tomas and his wife (from Argentina) are usually baking and cooking in the kitchen area while they attend to customers. Their big dog might be lying nearby.

Our family has developed a very positive rapport with both Monsieur and Madame Tomas. (Henri sometimes calls Charley “Le Grand Bois” - our last name is Wood — and is very attentive to our daughter.) They are both very friendly and will take the time to talk if they’re not too busy with their baking. They speak just a little English. On our last visit Henri showed us several letters and cards he has received from American visitors over the years. On another visit he showed Charley a letter he got from Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of England, praising his almond galette. If you visit in the future, maybe he will show you a card and photo from the Wood Family from Tennessee!

Henri is closed on Tuesdays and the schedule can be a bit variable in the off-season. They are also closed for vacation during the month of February.

(Note: Henri’s daughter Christine runs the boulangerie in the nearby village of Saignon and sells some of his specialities. There are some tables inside and outside her shop; this is a good place to stop in Saignon for a drink and a snack.)

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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