Napoleon III had decided to build a Port of Refuge where merchant ships would take shelter when it was impossible to cross the Barre de l'Adour on days of strong storms. The dike which was to advance three hundred and forty meters offshore never exceeded a hundred meters. A storm of rare violence struck it in 1868. The ocean in the years that followed tore up fifty meters of masonry, definitively destroying any hope of building a port. This short-lived initiative was not useless since it offers visitors a unique walk. They drilled a tunnel there. Justin Larrebat speaks of detonations which "were going to redouble the night as well as the day". It felt like, he said, in a city under siege. "It was the Cucurlong, this mastodon of our rocks, which became a tunnel and vomited its entrails". In the past, the dike could be accessed from the rounded parapet, but it was not without danger. The accidents followed one another: the angler Jean-Baptiste Bapsères, father of seven children, swept away by a blade in 1863, three workers at work on the site the following year, three artists from the Théâtre des Arts who came to take a tour of the site. the sea wall in the moonlight while waiting for the train that would bring them back to Paris.
With the Cucurlon rock and the dike, it was part of the municipal public domain until 1905.
The construction of the Port of Refuge determined the launching between the mainland and the Cucurlon of a bridge that the Gascon poet, Justin Larrebat, described as a "spider's web". He added: "You will be afraid to find yourself at sea on chopsticks" but "don't worry, these brimborions defy and brave the disheveled waves which will break and merge, screaming at your feet".
The wooden bridge from the imperial era was replaced by a metal footbridge. The auction to the Société Schryver et Cie d'Hautmont (municipality of the North) dates from June 1, 1886.
On the minutes of the tests of May 17, 1887 appears the name, and he alone, of this Company which excludes, alas, any involvement of Gustave Eiffel in this work as we liked to believe for a very long time.
Queen Victoria in 1889 was the only one to release
"motorized" the gangway in his little donkey car, of which a sturdy fellow held the bridle.
The Rocher de la Vierge was the sovereign's favorite walk.