I thought I would just share an experience we have just had, as sometimes there are stories with negative comments regarding French systems and how difficult they can be.
A week past on Thursday, I went to put my new 3 monthly renewal of one of the cars insurance, into the envelope that we keep in the car. To my horror, I could not find it anywhere in the car, my wife and I searched the entire house and our other 3 vehicles in case it had been put in one of the others by mistake but no, we found nothing. So this meant the cars Carte Grise, Control Technique and old Insurance paper were all missing. We knew when it was there but concluded, that the plastic enveloped had been put into the door pocket and not into the glove compartment, as is the norm and had unfortunately fallen out and was gone.
My first thoughts were, oh dear the horror of trying to get a renewal, or words to that effect. We had previously used the services of the Mairie to change my wifes License and to register a change of vehicle, so off we went with all appropriate paperwork, including utility bill and self addressed stamped envelope. At the Marie we encountered the first issue, the missing CT, the lady was surprised that we kept all that paperwork in the car, we had been told by the the English couple we bought the house from some 5 years ago and others, that that was the law. No she said, all you need to carry is the Carte Grise. Anyway off we went to the CT centre, explained what had happened, duplicate CT handed over, back to the house to fill in the two forms the lady had given us. Looked at the time and it was 5 minutes to 12, whoa lunch time. Drive quickly to the Mairie where the lady was waiting for us. She checked all the paperwork, wrote a cheque, she gave me an atestation stating that I had reported the loss and that would keep me legal until the new one arrived.
Less than one week later the new Carte Grise arrived, deep joy. So in essence, we have used the service of the Mairie 3 times with great success, we did not have to drive over an hour to our local Prefecture, wait in a queue, not know what reception we might get and we now know the definitive answer to what documents to carry in the car. The service we received from the Mairie was fantastic and is available to all and I would recommend using them for any issue or problem. Hope that has been of interest.