A visit to the Marjorelle Gardens is an absolute ‘must for all visitors to Marrakech. Find out more about this stunning attraction and why you should add it to your list of things to do in Morocco’s Red City!
If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy spot in Marrakech, look no further than the Marjorelle Gardens. This beautiful attraction is home to vibrant blue walls, interesting architecture, and tranquil gardens. It’s definitely worth a visit during your time in the city!
It took French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Red City”.
Shady lanes between trees and exotic plants, refreshing streams and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers; the rustling of leaves and the chirping of numerous birds who come here to take refuge; a building with Moorish charm, with a hint of Art Deco, painted in astonishingly vibrant primary colours, glowing with an intense blue the artist perceived in the Atlas Mountains. The harmony of this luxuriant and vivid imagery exemplifies the power of ‘wellness’ and offers a calming retreat for visitors, near and yet so far from the bustling city, sheltered from time by high earthen walls.
The colours that Jacques Majorelle began to use in 1937 transformed his garden into an even more fascinating masterpiece. He first painted the facade of his studio, then all of his property including gates, pergolas, pots and the various buildings in a scheme of bold and brilliant primary colours, one of which would later be known as “Majorelle blue”, an ultramarine, cobalt blue, “evoking Africa”. Strong, deep, intense, it accentuates the green of the leaves and makes them sing.
When the Jardin Majorelle opened to the public in 1947, its fame was already well-established. At the end of his life, after having been forced to subdivide it on several occasions, Jacques Majorelle had to sell what remained. The garden, abandoned, fell into disrepair.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech.
“We quickly became very familiar with this garden and went there every day. It was open to the public yet almost empty. We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature. And when we heard that the garden was to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did everything we could to stop that project from happening. This is how we eventually became owners of the garden and of the villa. And we have brought life back to the garden through the years.”
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and saved it from falling victim to a real estate project and becoming a hotel complex. The new owners decided to live in the Villa Bou Saf Saf, which they renamed Villa Oasis, and undertook the restoration of the garden in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”
Automatic irrigation systems were installed, adjusting the distribution of water according to hours during the day and to the specific needs of each plant. New plant species have been added since 1999, increasing the total number from 135 to 300. A team of 20 gardeners once again began working to maintain the garden, its ponds and fountains.
The painter’s studio has been transformed into a museum open to the public, dedicated to Berber culture, housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Yves Saint Laurent would say he was able to find an unlimited source of inspiration in the Jardin Majorelle, and that he dreamt many times about its unique colours.
Be sure to pack your sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes – you’ll definitely want to spend a few hours exploring this amazing place!
To see the Marjorelle Gardens you can book your tickets online at https://www.jardinmajorelle.com/
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