After spending the first few days of our Morocco trip within the medina of Marrakech and the Sahara desert we decided to take the opportunity to slow the pace down and take a day to recharge. With that in mind we headed for ‘Jardin Majorelle’, located on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, some way outside the medina walls away from the hustle of the vibrant smells and sights within the heart of Marrakech. It was gifted to the city by Yves Saint Laurent. Him and his partner Pierre Bergé bought the electric-blue villa and its garden to preserve the vision of its original owner, landscape painter Jacques Majorelle.
The entrance may seem like a lot compared to other sights (100MAD or €10 for adult garden and museum), but it’s well worth spending the money. You immediately get transported into a shaded walkway; bamboo trees lining the path give you an instant relief from the soaring heat. Beautifully coloured in deep shades of yellow and blue the garden boasts an array of plants from across the world that YSL collected while on his travels across the globe. Now you may be thinking ‘It’s just a garden, why would I be interested’, however after being able to have a wander around the two and a half-acre garden you soon start to realise that this is much more than a garden. It represents a place of calm and passion bursting with cultural history. The ample shady lanes split off into multiple directions, with it comes various plant species from across the globe and just before you get lost amongst it all, the path once again breaks, this time in front of a large modern looking art deco villa. Lavished in deep blue with settle hints of yellow, its shard edges strike against the sky dominantly pulling you in to explore every possible corner. The once villa-studio of Jacques Majorelle now houses a rich panoramic view into the various indigenous tribes that are some of the most ancient from Northern Africa. Showcasing a wide range of jewellery, weapons, leather goods, basketwork and woven textiles helps demonstrate the richness and diversity of the still-vibrant Berber culture.
After a short history lesson you get on track of exploring and most likely find yourself facing the front of the villa called Oasis. The house has clear influences of art deco, but with modernist touch it remains a timeless construction. It is dominated by the prominent blue, which is so original for Majorelle Garden that it indeed resulted in naming this particular shade ‘Majorelle Blue’. With yellow touches the house stands out from the surrounding greenery but also subtly incorporates into it almost perfectly, perhaps due to its delicate shape. Yves Saint Laurent once said that he could find any kind of inspiration in Jardin Majorelle and it is obvious when you’re standing by his old residency and watch the countless beauty of world’s flora gathered in this small paradise within Marrakech Ville Nouvelle.
You can spend as much time as you need to take in the beauty. Most people spend perhaps around 1,5-2 hours there, however we decided to take our time when we planned our visit. It was a good experience to not feel rushed to the next sight, but sit down by a fountain, look around speechless and snack on Moroccan pastries and oranges (our take away picnic-lunch for the day). So when you plan to visit the garden I recommend not giving yourself a time limit unless necessary. One of the main feelings that Jardin Majorelle arose in us was that of timelessness and it is worth letting yourself drown in it without counting the minutes. In this inspirational and artistic place it is worth taking the advice of the artist Yayoi Kusama – “Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment.”