Moored alongside the Quai d’Orsay, opposite the Grand Palais and surrounded by some of the city’s best sights, including Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find this modern péniche, or riverboat. The quayside already gives you a clue as to what to expect with brightly colored yarn decorating the trees, graffiti adorning the walls of a shipping container, and a space invader taking in the scene. Welcome to the world’s first floating urban art center. Street art on the river, if you so wish.
Named as an homage to and a play on words with the Parisian motto (“Fluctuat nec mergitur,” tossed by the waves but does not sink), the art gallery has a superb, if small, permanent collection featuring works by the likes of world-famous street artist Banksy and Paris’s very own Invader.
Downstairs, temporary exhibitions fill the hull of the barge. On now through September 22, 2019, the current exhibition Time Capsule retraces the work of the artist Swoon. A chronological journey through the artist’s career, re-created street scenes show the paper cutouts and delicate wheatpaste prints for which the artist is known. After contemplating the artwork, head back up to the main level to browse in the great little bookshop which offers books on street art and souvenirs in keeping with the urban art theme.
But Fluctuart isn’t just about art, the floating cultural space also has a small restaurant and café on the main level serving simple dishes and drinks for lunch or dinner, with a family-friendly brunch (on a boat!) offered every Sunday.
Upstairs on the top deck, you’ll find a rooftop bar perfect for sipping coffee or cocktails on the Seine. Old spray paint cans and skateboards serve to display the drink menu, and once you’ve made your selection, you can sit and soak in the stunning surroundings, watching the Bateaux Mouches floating by.
The gallery is free to enter and open every day, from midday to midnight.
All in all, a great outing, combining art, shopping, and refreshing drinks with a view. What more could you ask for?