The underground shelter of French General De Castries is located in the center of the Dien Bien Phu Garrison in Muong Thanh, Dien Bien. Even though it was severely damaged during the combat in 1945, nowadays, the bunker’s structure and arrangement still remain. Standing on any high hill in the garrison, we can see this famous bunker, which took the Viet Minh army 55 days and nights to win over it.
The bunker is 20m in length and 8m in width, including four rooms for both boarding and working. In the past, the French used logs and bags of sand to build a trench connecting the bunker with a blockhouse on A1 Hill. The trench is no longer there today, but we can still easily see the steel arches and bags of sand on the roof top of the bunker.
This was the place where General De Castries met many influential leaders such as French Prime Minister Joseph Laniel, American President Dwight Eisenhower, English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as well as many famous reporters and journalists. The bunker also witnessed the capture of De Castries on May 7th 1954.
If you are visiting Dien Bien in general and Dien Bien Phu in particular, seeing De Castries Bunker is a must because this humble bunker is, no doubt, a symbol of the victorious Dien Bien Phu Battle of the Viet Minh Army and also a symbol of the bravery of Vietnamese people.