Photo: The Dien Bien Phu valley.

Muong Thang Bridge and the bunker of De Casties and Pirot

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Just before crossing the bridge, on the right, there is a stone plaque in front of what is now just a weedy hole in the ground, but used to be the bunker of Chief Artillery Commander Pirot.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

As the story goes, the moment he heard the first shot from Vietnamese artillery in the nearby hills, he knew defeat was inevitable and committed suicide. Whether this was out of despair at the inevitable lose of human life that was about to take place, or simply to avoid the humiliation of going back to France and explaining himself, will never be known.

The other bunker is the command quarters where General De Casties and his staff holed up while coordinating their forces during the 57-day siege. Yes, this is where they found the bathtub now on display at the museum. The fact that the French had gone from colonial masters, to animals cowering in an underground den, marked a sea change in their struggle for liberation.

To further illustrate the point, some of the heavy artillery that all that concrete was built in fear of is on display in back of the bunker. The area features some more tanks and memorials, and if you’re with a guide you’ll probably be taken to see them.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Dien Bien Phu.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Dien Bien Phu.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Dien Bien Phu.
 Read up on how to get to Dien Bien Phu, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Dien Bien Phu? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Vietnam with Tourradar.

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