A men walking arround Obelisk with the French rooster on Plaza de Francia square in Panama City, Panama, Central America. French Plaza next to the French embassy, Casco Viejo, colonial part of the city. PLAZA FRANCIA Originally the main square of the walled city, Plaza Francia was designed by Leonardo de Villanueva and is dedicated to the French effort to build the Panama Canal and the thousands of people from around the world who died during the process. An obelisk topped with a French coque crowns the monument and a dozen marble plaques provide details of the labor of construction the Canal. Flanking the Plaza are the infamous Las Bóvedas, the French Embassy, the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Culture Institute), as well as many contemporary vendors with souvenirs, food and drink.