Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh: The Complete Guide
Charming, inspiring, incredibly beautiful: these are the adjectives most used to describe the Jardin Majorelle or Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.
Located northwest of the medieval city walls, the garden is a 2.5-acre oasis in the heart of the Moroccan imperial city.
It is also a major tourist attraction in its own right, receiving more than 700,000 visitors each year.
See how to fall under the spell of the garden with a visit of your own!
The history of the garden
The land that is now known as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world was bought by French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle in 1923.
Before that, it was little more than an untamed grove of wild palm trees in the French-occupied area of Ville Nouvelle Marrakesh, which Majorelle fell in love with after being sent to Morocco to recover from a serious illness a few years earlier.
The artist settled on the property with his wife, Andrée Longueville, and began the landscaping project that would become his life's work by planting exotic botanical specimens from around the world.
In the 1930s, the couple moved into a Cubist villa on the property designed for them by French architect Paul Sinoir. Majorelle painted the exterior in a very specific shade of deep blue, which he developed himself after drawing inspiration from the blue-painted cities of southern Morocco.
This tonality, which he later patented and which is still known today as Majorelle Blue, predominates in all gardens. In subsequent decades, the garden has become a place of such beauty that it is the masterpiece for which Majorelle is most remembered.
To offset the cost of maintenance, the artist opened the garden to the public in 1947 but sold it shortly after his divorce from Longueville. From the 1950s onwards, the villa and gardens fell into an ever-increasing state of disrepair.
After injuries sustained in a car accident forced him back to Paris, Majorelle died of complications in 1962. His beloved garden was almost forgotten until it was rediscovered in the 1980s by the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and its co-founder of the brand, Pierre Bergé.
The couple, who were romantics and business partners, bought the garden to prevent it from being destroyed and make way for a new hotel business. They soon moved into Majorelle's villa and began the labor of love necessary to restore the garden to its original grandeur.
Yves Saint Laurent called the garden "an inexhaustible source of inspiration" and said that he often dreamed of the "unique colors" of it. When he died in 2008, his ashes were scattered there.
Since 2011, the garden has been managed by the Jardin Majorelle Foundation, a non-profit organization run by Bergé until his death in 2017. It is once again open to the public and hailed as one of the most beautiful attractions in Marrakech.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about The Gardener's Garden: Jardin Majorelle
The Garden Today
Today, the Majorelle Garden is completely surrounded by walls. Inside, its exotic shapes and striking primary colors reflect Majorelle's identity as a painter rather than a formal landscaper, creating a magical space to regain a sense of serenity after a busy morning in the souks.
She discovers carved flower beds and labyrinthine alleys, towering groves of bamboo and coconut trees, fantastically shaped cacti and wobbly canvases of purple bougainvillea.
The water fountains occupy the center of the garden, with canals, pools and musical fountains, all used to create different spaces for relaxation and reflection. This abundance of food and water attracts many different species of birds, 15 of which are endemic to North Africa.
The blue-painted buildings in the garden are equally beautiful, seamlessly blending Art Deco and Moorish architectural influences.
Majorelle's former studio now houses the Berber Museum, a celebration of the incredible creativity of the Berber people of Morocco. She uncovers more than 600 artifacts in elegantly curated exhibits, ranging from North African textiles and ceramics to intricate traditional jewelry.
Each item comes from the personal collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
In 2017, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris opened a sister museum in Marrakech, located right next to the Majorelle Garden.
Here, exhibits show how Yves Saint Laurent was heavily influenced by Moroccan culture, colors and landscapes, with rotating displays of the designer's clothing and accessories. Of particular interest are his personal artifacts and sketchbooks filled with preliminary designs.
The museum also includes a bookstore and a café with a terrace.
The Majorelle Garden also has its own restaurant and retail boutique. Housed in the rooms of former employees, Café Majorelle impresses with its earthen architecture and walls of the type favored by Berbers and an interior courtyard planted with fragrant white and orange bougainvilleas.
Come for a refreshing glass of Moroccan mint tea or seasonal fruit juice, or explore an a la carte menu of healthy dishes made with fresh local produce.
The boutique sells handmade Moroccan clothing, household items, and souvenirs from the country's best artisans (think ornate slippers, jewelry, and bags).
How to Visit
The Majorelle Garden is located in Ville Nouvelle, on Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Ask any little taxi driver; they will know where you are. The garden is open every day of the year, at the following times:
- October 1 to April 30: from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- May 1 to September 30: from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Ramadan: 9 a.m. at 4:30 p.m.
For foreign adults, admission costs DH 70 each. Admission is free for accompanied children under 12, while Moroccan citizens and residents, university students, school groups, and non-profit organizations offer significant discounts.
Admission to the Berber Museum costs an additional 30 dirhams, while the Yves Saint Laurent Museum charges 100 dirhams. You can buy tickets at the door; however, it is advisable to book online for a specific time to avoid queuing.
The quietest times to visit are the hour after the garden opens and an hour or two before it closes. Crowds are common in the middle of the day, especially in high season. The Majorelle Garden is suitable for wheelchairs.
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