The contrôle technique (CT) on French vehicles is valid for 2 years. You must take your car to a recognised technical centre. You will find near you in the French Yellow Pages.
You often see them next to a supermarket so you can shop while the Control Technique is being done!
The test lasts about one hour. They check the tyres, lights, emissions, brakes and the bodywork.
If your vehicle passes, you will get a sticker on your windscreen indicating the month and year of the next test.
If your car fails, you must visit a garage and have some repairs done. You will have to visit the Technical centre again. It is called a 'contre visite'.
Some centres don't charge for the second visit. Check first if they say 'contre visite gratuite' !
The reasons for failing can be: the lights are not working, the emissions are too high, the tyres need replacing...
The contrôle technique costs about 50 euros.
The centre may keep your details and write to you in 2 years time to remind you it is time for another test! I am glad they wrote to me last week as I completely forgot about it!