Amid the frenetic buzz of Marrakech one can still find pockets of tranquil serenity in sharp contrast to the heat and pace of the city all around.
One such oasis of calm is the Majorelle Garden, or Jardin Majorelle, one of the most popular visitor attractions in Marrakech. Named after its French-born designer, Jacques Majorelle, a French painter inspired by the Art Nouveau movement of the early 1900s, the garden in its modern form spans around two and a half acres blending nature and design. Here, the sound of gently running water from marble pools, fountains and irrigation channels and the constant chatter of birdlife create an idyllic atmosphere of sub tropical exoticism as raised paths lead one through plantations of banana trees and bamboo, coconut palms and bougainvillea and an impressive collection of cactae.
Majorelle spent some forty years designing and sculpting his garden into a splendid piece of botanical art although, following his death in 1962, it fell into a state of neglect. However, in 1980 fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé acquired Majorelle’s house and garden and restored both to their former glory. When Saint Laurent himself died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the garden which he had already bequeathed to the city of Marrakech.
Jardin Majorelle is also home to a small Berber Museum featuring a variety of objets d’art from Berber culture, a bookshop and café. On site too is the Boutique Marjorelle which offers a range of Moroccan artisanal products and displays objects honouring the memory of the fashion designer who breathed life back into Jacques Majorelle’s unique garden.
The garden, located on Avenue Yacoub el Mansour, is open daily, all year round, and entry costs 30 dirhams. Visit Jardinmarjorelle.com for further details.