Maxi-Car is the way to go - great sealed mechanism and they last forever.
That said, the urge by many to "keep a bike all French" is an American thing and not a French thing. Both Rene Herse as well as the Alex Singer shop used lots of Campagnolo from the 1960's on. Roland Csuka, the man with the torch at the Singer shop for many years, was a Campy hub fan. That said, Campy hubs were typically used on road/sport bikes. Machines for longer Brevet/true touring would use MaxiCar due to their superior sealing.
I guess the main point is that I wouldn't loose much sleep if the use of Campy hubs makes your life easier. But for longer trips where riding in the wet is likely, and regular purging of a Campy NR hub is not practical, then I'd say be patient and wait for the Maxi-car hubs.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO USA
Rene Herse Bicycles Inc. / Boulder Bicycle
I'm hoping to find some sage advice here--not yet disappointed!--about French hubs for my retro-vintage touring bike I'm building. On the advice of this list, I've already procured a Stronglight crankset, a set of Simplex derailleurs, Mafac brakes and levers, and now am pondering hubs. I slso have a nice set of Mavic Module E clinchers awaiting a build. This is my first foray into the French parts, so my only point of comparison is Campy high flange, which I love.
Which French hubs will give me comparable performance and longevity: Maillard, Atom, Normandy, Maxi-Car, others?
Shining a penlight into the dark here, so any advice welcome.