The Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh is one of the most visited tourist sites in the city – and for good reason. Amid the calm green oasis, pops of color provide a jolt to the senses. Yet the shades of yellow, teal and royal blue all harmonize with the hundreds of shades of green in such a way that you can’t imagine one without the other.
The Majorelle Garden has twice been a labor of love for the artistic souls that have owned it. The garden began as the creative passion for orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle in 1923. For forty years he worked to perfect the garden. In fact, the Majorelle Garden has become the artistic masterpiece that defines him, rather than his paintings.
Jacques commissioned and architect to design a cubist villa for the garden, which he then painted a very specific shade of cobalt blue that he had developed and ultimately trademarked as Majorelle Blue.
After Jacques Majorelle died in 1962, the garden also fell into ruin, until it was purchased and restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berogé in the 1980. In fact, Yves and Pierre saved the garden from being demolished and the property converted into a hotel complex. The villa and the gardens in Marrakesh ultimately became a refuge as well as a source of inspiration for Yves Saint Laurent until his death in 2008.
Today, the garden that was so loved by two very different creative talents, is managed by a non-for-profit organization which makes it available to the public for their own source of inspiration.
I am sharing my photos of this beautiful garden to help inspire your green (or teal or royal blue) thumb.
Tips for Visiting Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh
- If you are staying in or near the historic Medina area, then walking to the Majorelle Garden is not an easy option. I took a taxi from my hotel which cost me about 70dh. As with all taxi rides in Marrakesh, settle on the price to the location before getting into the cab. Taxi fares in Marrakesh seem to be quite variable depending on the time of day, direction of the trip and the whim of the driver. (Time in the car and distance seemed to have no bearing).
- The garden is one of the most popular tourist sites in Marrakesh and as a result gets quite busy. Get there early – ideally when the garden opens at 8AM (except in the month of Ramadan when it opens at 9AM). I was at the ticket office at 8 when it opened and was just barely ahead of a big group coming from a large tour bus. When I left at lunchtime, there was a long line qued up to buy tickets.
- You can purchase a ticket for just the garden or a combination ticket for the garden and the Berber Museum which is housed in the painting studio. Check the website for up to date ticket prices at http://jardinmajorelle.com/ang/
- The Yves Saint Laurent museum is next door to the garden. The museum showcases the designer’s fashions and history. You can purchase a combined Majorelle garden-YSL museum ticket if you plan on visiting both sites. I highly recommend this so that you can avoid the line at the YSL museum ticket office. After visiting the garden, I went to the YSL museum in the early afternoon and despite already having my ticket, still waited in line about 30 minutes to get in. The museum is not very large and they control the number of visitors that are allowed in at one time- thus the wait.
- Consider taking a break at the Majorelle Garden Cafe. I enjoyed a lovely traditional Moroccan breakfast with one of the local garden cats for company.
I have visited a number of gardens around the world, and the Majorelle Garden has to be one of the most unique. The large collection of cacti and succulents are not common to most gardens, especially in the colder north.
What really made the garden stand out though was the pops of color, especially the cobalt blue. Ironically, I think that the contrasting colors of the walls, benches and pots actually helped to provide a more soothing feeling than if they had not been present.
If you are planning a visit to Marrakesh, I highly recommend a visit to the Majorelle Garden, even if you are not a gardener.
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Thanks for visiting.