On the evening of December 31st, the city of Montbéliard is invaded by street shows for kids and adults mixing fantasy, magic, comedy, music and poetry. An original and refreshing way to celebrate New Year in a friendly atmosphere.
Bored of the traditional New Year’s Eve with relatives and friends spent at home, in restaurants or in private parties? Why not head to the east of France and, more precisely, Montbéliard. This year, for the fourth time, as the year comes to a close, the town near Belfort and the Swiss border will be transformed into a gigantic open-air theatre. Dubbed Citée Rêvée or Dreamed City, this unique event gathers together scores of artists from nine companies specialised in street shows.
[ Practical ]
- By road
430 km from Paris by autoroute A 5 till Langres, then N 19 till Montbéliard.
- By Train
About 3 h 50 from Paris Gare de l’Est by Corail train + TER with connection in Belfort, or from Paris Gare de Lyon by TGV + TER with connection in Besançon.
- By bus
Autocars Girardot will operate a bus service between Montbéliard and Dole, Dijon, Beaune and Chalon-sur-Saône. Return tickets : €45.
Tel : 0810007100
Hotel de France
Hotel de la Balance
Les Relais Verts
The neighbouring towns of Sochaux (5 km away) and Belfort (21 km away) also have several hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation is available in the surrounding villages.
Le Saint Martin
La Cité des Princes
Du Coq à l’Ane
Le Tire Bouchon
New Year Package
The Montbéliard Tourist Office sells a 2 days / 1 night package from €49 per person. It includes one night in double room in a 2* hotel, breakfast and a “Bon Séjour” pass giving free admission to the main monuments and discounts on public transports.
- Doubs Tourist Office
Tel : 0381212999
- Montbéliard Tourist Office
Tel : 0381944560
An enchanting spectacle
© Compagnie des Bains Douches
From 9.30pm onwards, modern day minstrels will be showing off their talent and creativity on the streets of Montbéliard. First, we see a herd of red giraffes moving slowly by balancing on their flexible necks and then a gorgeous diva, circus boys and big wheels. A little further on, artists clamber amid a structure made of burning metal tubes and plates. Elsewhere, images, texts snippets and portraits are screened on the facades of buildings or on installations. On a street corner, tall paper forms in the shape of human beings, a bird, a giraffe and an elephant loom out. Shortly afterwards, a truck appears carrying three firemen on the hunt for flames. No sooner have they arrived than they start a series of spectacular infernos! In one of the town’s squares, a giant sea horse, weird machines spitting fire and men wearing iron clothes pass each other, while a cow flies over the spectators.
Everywhere, visitors stumble upon shows each more astonishing than the last and find themselves caught up in the madness and the poetry of this fantastic celebration.
And since it is New Year’s Eve, there is no question of going hungry or thirsty! At the Place Velotte in the centre of town, wild boar and sides of beef are cooked on a barbeque and accompanied by oysters, mulled wine and a host of other drinks. Treats, cakes and hot drinks are served at kiosks all over town. Everywhere you look, there are braziers to warm the chilly visitor. For those looking for a bit more comfort, the town’s bars and restaurants are all open for the occasion of course. Some of them serve early dinners so their guests can finish their meal before the shows start. Alternatively, get there later and try and get a table by the window to watch the troupes of artists passing by. You have to be quick though, as these seats are snapped up in no time.
Happy New Year!
© Compagnie des Bains Douches
Lastly, comes the moment everyone has been waiting for – the twelve bells of midnight ringing in the New Year. Kissing, hugging, cries of joy, the pop of champagne corks…the streets erupt with joy. Slowly, almost regretfully, the artists slip away and vanish at the same time. But don’t worry, the party is not over. Now is the time for music and dancing with the “La Premiata Orchestra di Ballo” concert put on by the Barbarins Fourchus. In a friendly, easy-going atmosphere the band plays songs that mix rock, punk, folk, polka, waltz and Arabic music. The aim is for everybody to have fun, dance and get to know each other during this popular ball that also includes a dance contest where the best couple is awarded the “Golden Shoe”. Alas, even the best things come to end and at 3.00am the lights go off. Everyone heads off in search of another party or back home with a head full of dreams.
November 16, 2009