Majorelle Garden | The most beautiful garden in Marrakech, Morocco
Majorelle Garden is the most beautiful and popular garden found in Marrakech. The garden was named after the French painter "Jacques Majorelle" (1886-1962 ) because he was the one who created it in 1932, and it took him forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting paradise in his favorite Moroccan city, Marrakech. Later, it was bought by Yves Saint-Laurent ( a Fashion designer) (1936-2008) and Pierre Berge (a businessman ) (1930-2017) in 1980.
This astonishing garden attracts about 600,000 visitors each year. Covering an area of 8,000 m², the garden is inspired by Moroccan oases, Islamic and Spanish gardens in Moorish style. A small haven of peace in the middle of the hustle and bustle that rages in Marrakech, the Majorelle garden offers a festival of bright colors where blue is in the spotlight.
History of the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech
At the beginning of the 20th century, the French painter Jacques Majorelle settled in Morocco. It is 1919 and the country is still a protectorate administered by France. In 1922, he decided to acquire a palm grove northwest of the Medina of Marrakech. In 1929, he asked the architects Robert Poisson and Paul Sinoir to build an artist's villa-studio, drawing inspiration from Moorish and art-deco styles.
The painter fitted out his main residence there and created a tropical botanical garden, modeled on the style of the Islamic garden. Thanks to his travels, he brought back many plants and populated his garden, composed of yuccas, jasmines, water lilies, coconut palms, orange trees, banana trees, bougainvilleas, fuchsias, cacti, agaves, and bamboo. There are also fountains, ponds, water jets, pergolas, walkways. After inventing Majorelle blue in 1937, he repainted the walls of the villa of his invention and opened his property to the public in 1947.
Repatriated to Paris due to a car accident, he left the garden abandoned for several years, but the designer Yves Saint-Laurent and the businessman Pierre Bergé discovered the site in 1966. Threatened by the appetites of property developers who plan to grow concrete there, the two acolytes bought the Majorelle Garden in the light of the 1980s.
The two men joined forces to prevent the construction of a hotel complex there, and became owners of the garden . After renovations, to "make the Majorelle garden the most beautiful garden, that which Jacques Majorelle had thought of, envisaged", they occupied the renowned place "Villa Oasis". Today owned by the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint-Laurent Foundation, the site houses the botanical garden - where more than 300 species of plants grow - an Art-Deco villa labeled Maisons des Illustres and the Berber history museum .
What to see and do at the Majorelle Garden?
What to see when coming to visit the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech? A predefined itinerary helps to visit the Majorelle garden, between the trees and tropical plants, the pools and the fountains.
Passing the main door, the lush vegetation immerses you in a rejuvenating silence, covered by the sounds of birds (and the sound of the footsteps of tourists). The garden as such includes the plants in the garden, the Berber museum, the museum bookstore, the Yves Saint-Laurent memorial. You will not miss one of the main attractions of the garden: the Majorelle blue square fountain and the contrast between the blue color and the plants.
Along shady lanes, in the midst of trees and exotic plants of dreamy origin; you will walk past refreshing, burbling streams and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers; you hear wafting through the air, laden with sugared fragrance, the rustling of leaves and the chirping of numerous birds who come here to take refuge; you stop, and the path turns unexpectedly, revealing a building with Moorish charm, with a hint of Art Deco, painted in astonishingly vibrant primary colors, glowing with an intense blue the artist perceived in the Atlas Mountains. you will be soothed and enchanted by the harmony of this luxuriant and vivid imagery, which issues a delicate summons to the senses, offering you a calming retreat near, and yet so far from the bustling city, sheltered from time by high earthen walls.
The magnificence of this garden is similar to the exotic Generalife gardens located beside the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The arid landscape, originally almost devoid of vegetation, like the gardens of the Alhambra, were utterly transformed by Majorelle over a span of 40 years. The garden includes plants such as agave, bamboo, cacti, cypress, datura, succulents and bougainvillea.
The Berber Museum traces the history of this people of North Africa whose origins date back to Prehistory, 9,000 years ago. The museum is dedicated to Berber culture, history and language around three sections: tangible, intangible, and know-how, adornments with Berber jewelry, and pageantry: costumes, weapons, weavings, decorations of abodes.
In December 2018, an unassuming archway in the back wall of Majorelle Garden was unlocked for the first time in decades. Through it lies the private gardens and house where Yves Saint Laurent once lived, and where his partner Pierre Bergé continued to live until his death in 2017.