France

Solidarity garage, car mechanics for all

25 Gennaio Gen 2013 1303 25 gennaio 2013

Le Garage Moderne teaches everyone to repair their car or bicycle – at very good prices!

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Le Garage Moderne
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Le Garage Moderne teaches everyone to repair their car or bicycle – at very good prices!

Owning a car is often essential to get a job. Over the last years, car-related costs have always been on the rise. This increase penalizes those who have less and endangers their safety: in France, one out of five drivers go late to their annual car service.
To answer to this need some garages are born in France where it is possible to go and repair one’s own car with the help of a professional at prices that are from 2 to 3 times lower than classic garages, because work is shared. These are called “garages solidaires” (meaning solidarity garages) . They are in form of associations, mostly financed thanks to subsidies.
Le Garage Moderne, a beautiful and huge industrial building in the north of Bordeaux, called “the Cathedral” by regular visitors, is the pioneer of “solidarity car mechanics” in France. Opened in 2000, besides being an associative garage, it regularly hosts cultural events, exhibitions and concerts. Paying an annual subscription going between 33 and 49 Euros (according to financial resources) members, who amount to 5400, can go to the garage to repair their own car with the help of a professional mechanic. The “méchanique angelique” (angelic mechanics) programme is specifically designed for women, to teach them the basics of mechanics. The idea of the project is based on solidarity, sustainable development and sharing of competences.
La Garage Moderne, specialized in car reparation, has diversified its activities in 2004 into bicycles. Members can repair or buy bicycles at very good prices. What matters most to the founders of the project is teaching, (which they call “pedagogical action”) , more than selling. The project has developed an itinerant truck service to repair bikes, which is especially aimed to go to underprivileged areas of the city to repair the bicycles of those who are looking for a job, in order to facilitate the access to job and to mobility.
Besides being a garage, Le Garage Moderne is a place of exchanges and meetings. People also gather for its atmosphere and its conviviality. This original environment regularly welcomes cultural events (exhibitions, shows) and a part of it has been transformed into an art gallery, enriched by works of art of accomplished artists and fine arts students.