Cape Town got its chance to embrace a little Parisian culture when the first Picnic en Blanc event took place this past weekend (Feb 25) at the Cape Town Company Gardens.

Taken from a concept that began humbly in 1980s France, this pop-up picnic event not only added something new to the city's summer calendar, but also benefited the Africa Centre of HIV and Aids Management, hence the “touch of red” theme.

This first for South Africa was brought to the Capetonians by events management company, 68 Encounters, in collaboration with famed events producer, Shaun Westcott, who is well-known for his success with the Mantella Group of restaurants and multiple MCQP events.

Recognised for its creatively unique events, 68 Encounters was founded in 2003 by Maria Vasco, a former Interior Designer. “Anyone who knows me well knows that I love all things fabulous. Events of this nature give me an opportunity to show off the things that make South Africa fabulous,” says Maria.

Attended by thousands at some of Paris' most fashionable spaces (and most recently at the World Financial Centre Plaza in New York City), Picnic en Blanc is about connecting people, celebrating the things that make the world's cities great and enjoying life's simple pleasures.

Invitations were exclusive and the location was revealed via special SMS on the morning of the picnic. Magic was made with the sunshine and charming location setting the scene for a beautiful day.

130 guests dressed in white (and their individual interpretations of a “touch of red”), descended on the Company Gardens with their fold-up tables and chairs, umbrellas, picnic baskets and a festive mood. Along with good food and company, they also enjoyed the sweet sounds of multi-talented band, Larry Joe Live.

“Saturday's event was a huge success, judging not only by the turnout, but also by the rave reviews we are continuing to receive from those who were there.

“We all get so caught up in our daily lives; we forget to reconnect with our city and the people we love. Picnic en Blanc was the perfect reminder to take a break every once in a while and celebrate the simpler things,” Maria concludes.