Marrakech is truly a vivacious city. A little too vivacious, truth be told, so during my recent visit, I found the Jardin Majorelle to be a welcome reprieve. Created in the 1920’s by French painter Jacques Majorelle, this idyllic garden set in the center of the Ville Nouvelle neighborhood of Marrakech was made famous by the designer Yves Saint Laurent who purchased the property after Majorelle’s death and gifted it to the city.
The 2.5-acre garden with its banana trees, coconut palms, thickets of bamboo and array of cacti, as well as fountains and streams populated with Koi and baby turtles, was absolutely delightful. However, as much as I liked being among the plants and trees – the palm trees especially, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about a palm tree – the thing about the garden that did it for me was the sumptuous colors.
Gorgeous green, yummy yellow and bad-ass blue (offically called Majorelle Blue), even the punchy pink of the bougainvillea made me feel as though I was wandering – no, make that prancing – through a work of art. It’s not surprising that the garden is often considered Majorelle’s masterpiece. The architecture is also a focal point of the garden, most notably the villa, which is now a small museum dedicated to Berber art and culture that houses artifacts from the indigenous tribes around Morocco.
A quiet little enclave in Jardin Majorelle is home to a memorial dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, made of a Roman column from the designer’s Tangier home that sits on a pedestal with a plaque bearing his name. There is also a small gallery with Saint Laurent’s famous “LOVE” posters, which he used to send as greeting cards to friends.
After my mid-day meander through the garden, I visited the museum bookstore and perused the collection of books available on Berber art, Morocco and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as Boutique Majorelle, which is filled with the most gorgeous handcrafted items, such as tunics, slippers, jewelry and cushions, all made by Moroccan artisans, but with a definite Saint Laurent influence.
I completed my afternoon at Jardin Majorelle with lunch at Café Bousafsaf, which is named after Jacques Majorelle’s first house and offers a nice selection of salads, sandwiches and tea.