Technique Contrôlled!

Contrôle Technique

Awesome day today! I don’t know where to start so we’ll just go chronologically. No, I can’t! The car passed the Contrôl Technique inspection! I’m so thrilled. It’s the first time I’m feeling like I’ve made some progress with the car.

So actually she didn’t pass the first time through. Camie and I took her in at about 10 in the morning and went for a coffee for an hour and a half while they did the inspection. It seems pretty thorough– there are about 100 “points of inspection” listed on the report.

So after our coffee we headed back and there was one main thing blocking our passing– the muffler had a hole in it, which in addition to being a failure on its own means that they also can’t do the emissions test. The guys at the Contrôle Technique place said that we would have to get a new muffler. So, back to Garage Nhevoit, my favorite place in Libourne!

At Garage Nhevoit I was told that, no, of course they don’t have the part and it would have to be ordered. But it seems Camie was able to soften his heart a little and he let us know that the big MaxAuto garage and auto parts store could probably take care of us. Off we went (this was straight back in the direction of the Contrôle Technique center– it and MaxAuto are in the same complex).

MaxAuto was closed now for lunch (2 hours, naturally). Now a brief interlude.

I must say that Camie’s family is comprised of some of the most welcoming and hospitable people I have had the fortune to meet, including not only Camie herself but her mother and father, her young cousin visiting from Paris, and even her dog (a Boxer who, at 6 months old, is already rather large and muscular).

They live in a beautiful home close to the Garage Nhevoit, with a perfectly-sized back yard for a dog, and a pool fenced in with grape vines. It was here we went while MaxAuto had lunch so we could do the same. Camie’s father, an opthomologist, was home from the hospital for lunch as it seems is normal. Her mother had set the table outside, where I learned at the conclusion of the pizza and salad courses that there would be an additional 3 courses. It was all washed down with a nice local wine from Fronsac, on the other side of Libourne from Pomerol and Saint Emilion where I was yesterday. Unforgettable.

Contrôle Technique This is getting too long so I will abbreviate. After lunch back to the garage MaxAuto. They sent us away for another couple hours so they could look at it and give us a quote. Went back to Camie’s to go swimming. At 4:30 returned to MaxAuto where they had decided they could just put some putty in the leaks and strap the exhaust pipe down and everything would be fine, no new muffler needed! And it was already done! Cheap! Awesome! Returned to the Contrôle Technique center just before closing time where they were able to run the smog check and pass us!

By the way, the reason we did all this Contrôle Technique today instead of going to the prefecture is because the prefecture was closed. As we found out when we showed up at 9, all the prefectures in all of Gironde were closed today, presumably because the employees wanted to make a 4-day weekend out of the 14th.

One good thing we learned from the Nhevoit guy is that the sous-prefecture they have here in Libourne can’t issue a carte grise (registration document) the same day– only the main prefecture in Bordeaux can do that. Good to know. So tomorrow we celebrate the storming of the Bastille, and then on Wednesday we head in to Bordeaux!


  1. ron says:

    Congrats on the great progress. Sounds like the delay has been pretty nice given Camie and family. Good luck on the journey north

  2. Do you have any advice about where to find background information on the Garage Nhevoit? We’re running into troubles in our preliminary literature review. Also, are there any English-language biographies of Camie or her father that you particularly recommend (our Camie Research Subgroup was asking)?