Sometimes when travelling out of the blue one can find hidden gems that you may not have been aware of at all but end up being the highlight of your stay in a particular place.
This was the case when in Morocco, I heard about the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. The Jardin Majorelle is more commonly known today as Yves St Laurent’s artful garden. Although the garden has no roses it is a must-see when in Marrakech.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé during their first trip to Marrakech discovered the Jardin Majorelle and immediately felt at home. Marrakech became their much loved holiday destination and a source of inspiration for colours and fabric design for the famous couturier. It is said that until this time Yves Saint Laurent had only used black and white in his designs.
The property was owned by Jacques Majorelle the famous French Painter who passed away in 1962. Jacques Majorelle designed the initial garden as a sanctuary and a botanical laboratory in 1922. The garden is a unique blend of exotic plants from across the world and is designed with an Art Deco meets Moorish style.
The two and a half-acre garden is a wonderful collection of plants, trees, colourful urns, gazebos, streams and fountains in a massive labyrinth of paths and platforms for viewing and enjoying the peace and tranquillity the garden creates. It is well worth the wait in the hot Moroccan sun to get a ticket.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé went on to purchase the garden in 1980 to save it from destruction as it was doomed to become a site for hotel development. They resolved to protect the garden from development and to open it to the public for the enjoyment of all. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé lived in Jacques Majorelles villa, and renamed it Villa Oasis
Today, Villa Oasis is a Museum and the vibrant blue we know as ‘Majorelle Blue’ bursts through the green foliage as a powerful, vibrant and unique element of the garden.
Jacques Majorelle was known for his realistic paintings of Northern Africa, where he travelled often. His artworks depict the sights and landscapes of Marrakesh and his Majorelle Blue was an inspiration from the terracotta tiles and ceramic pottery of the Islamic culture. Majorelle Blue is an intense, vivid, mid-blue that radiates the sun astonishing well.
Wandering through the tranquil garden the sounds of busy Marrakech are silenced and replaced with the gentle trickle of streams and water fountains, many varied species of birdlife and the breeze in the palm trees above.
To be able to visit this magical place is wonderful and the reason that each year 70,000 people come here to enjoy the oasis-like atmosphere of the garden. The story of Jardin Majorelle evokes in one a sense splendour. The story successfully combines botanical ingenuity, art, creativity, design, colour and fashion. It is inspiring, that the garden has achieved the synthesis of all these elements together with the preservation and protection of a truly unique garden.
The street where Jardin Majorelle is located was renamed in 2010 on November 27th as the Rue Yves Saint Laurent in his honour. 50,000 visitors came to the Jardin when Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Salma unveiled the new street sign and inaugurated the Yves Saint Laurent and Morocco exhibition in the garden’s museum.
The Jardin Majorelle is open all year
1 October to 30 April: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
1 May to 30 September: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
During Ramadan: 9 am – 4:30 pm