The French Project
Renovation of historical French buildings
The French Project centers upon the heritage of the French seamen, who were a vital part of the Fáskrúðsfjörður community in the 19th century. The project's centerpiece has been the restoration of five historical houses built by French parties or the French hospital, the Doctor's House, the Infirmary, the Small Chapel and the Morgue.
All buildings, except the Doctor's House, were either moved to their present locations or rebuilt as a part of the project.
The French Hospital, orginally constructed in 1904, was removed from its foundation in 1939 and moved to Hafnarnes, then a small hamlet on the south shore of the fjord. In 2010 the building was moved back to the town, where it has been restored to its former splendour.
Shorly after the hospital building was finished, construction of the Doctor's House started, a residence for the hospital doctor. The house has had, during the years, different functions, serving as a an elmentary school and town hall to name just a few.
The original infirmary was built in 1897 as a medical station, at a different location at Hamarsgata 8. Shortly after an adjoining chapel was added and, with the new hospital up and running, the building was turned into a lodging place for French seafarers. In the 1930s, the chapel was removed from the house and used as the upper floor of another house, still remaining at that location at Skólavegur 70A.
The old morgue was rebuilt in an exact replica, and is presently being used as an office and storage facility.
Restoration work started in 2010, finishing 4 years later with the grand opening of the houses, which are back in business though in different roles, serving the local community now as a hotel and a museum - all but one. The chapel is still a chapel, thus being the only building still serving its orginal purpose.
The project is run by Minjavernd, the Iceland Heritage Institution, in collaboration with Fjarðabyggð and Fjarðabyggð Harbours.