These gardens were easily my favourite of the sights we saw in Marrakech on our 2009 visit. This may be because we visited them before my injury, when I was able to explore them properly, but I am confident they would have been high up my list in any case. They are simply stunning, and even the large crowds of tourists who flock here (come earlier than we did to avoid them) can’t make them anything other than a haven is this manic city.
The gardens were established by French artist Jacques Majorelle who settled in Marrakech in 1919 and in 1947 opened the doors of his garden to the general public. After his death in 1962 the gardens were for a while neglected, but in 1980 they were bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and restored to their former glory. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered here, a clear sign of his affection for the gardens
This place is really a photographer’s dream. Every corner reveals a new vista, with pottery urns painted in the distinctive cobalt blue that has come to be known as “bleu Majorelle”, or in one of just three other shades in a harmonious limited palette – pale blue, deep vivid orange or an acid yellow. Plants are grouped, with the area near the entrance displaying a wide collection of cacti (my own favourites for photography with their lovely architectural forms), and further in palms, bamboo and many trees. There are water features with goldfish, turtles and small frogs, their edges and fountains painted in the same colour scheme as the pots. Benches invite you to sit and appreciate your surroundings, though competition for these can be fierce when the gardens are at their most crowded. And the sound of birdsong replaces the constant sound of traffic that dominates the rest of modern Marrakech.
At the centre of what is in fact quite a small space is Majorelle’s former workshop and Saint Laurent’s studio, painted in the same shade of blue and now home to the small museum of Islamic Art. Unfortunately this was closed for renovations when we visited, but in any case I suspect we may have wanted to linger in the gardens rather than go indoors to view the collection. Other buildings house a pretty café (see my restaurant tip) and a small but classy shop – no haggling here!
The gardens are open every day including Sundays (8.00 till 17.00 in winter months, 8.00 till 18.00 in the summer) and entry costs a reasonable 30 dirhams. The small museum in the grounds has exhibits of Islamic art and costs a further 15 dirhams but this was closed when we visited so I can’t comment on whether a visit there is worth the extra fee.
Next 2009 tip: lunch in the Majorelle Gardens
I visited the garden November 2014 and was a little disappointed. The botany was bland and repetitive and took twenty minutes to view. It scores 5 out of ten. It is probably worth one visit but no more
Majorelle Gardens were donated to Marrakech by Yves Sant-Laurent. Yves has a phallic pink memorial in the gardens. Although Morocco is a relatively liberal Islamic country, it's still slightly odd to wander the former home of such an overtly gay celebrity. In the souks a shopkeeper was trying to sell me a pouf - "it is a pouf not a poof - we don't like those here either".
Yves Sant-Laurent loved the city, though, and there's a definite ambivalence to homosexuality in Marrakech. You only have to wander the Djemaa el Fna and witness the cross-dressing men dancing seductively and clashing their zils with a rhythmic passion to see that. This behaviour is not just tolerated, but watched with great interest and cheered on by the mostly male crowds that gather around.
Yves didn't build the gardens, he bought them. They were originally laid out by French artist Jacques Majorelle when Morocco was still a colony of France. The gardens are marked by their extensive use of a strong cobalt blue paint, this colour became known as Majorelle Blue. It's a beautiful and tranquil oasis and a great place to escape to when the crowds of Marrakech start to overwhelm you.
Although these gardens are small a visit here is well worth while.The gardens consist of a beautiful bamboo "forest",bougainvillea,cacti,palms and pools with water lilies.Owing to the size of these gardens it can get busy very quickly so an early morning or late afternoon visit is recommended.
A small cafe is situated in the grounds which serves drinks,sandwiches and,up until 11.30am, breakfast.Did not use this facility so cannot comment.
My wife had been there twenty years ago and she was so surprised at how even more beautiful it now appearded on a May day. Yes, the plants have matured. Yes, the fountains were all working. Yes, everything was clean and well-tended.
Cobalt blue somehow goes well with the natural greens. There is plenty of yellow too! The paths are easy to follow and there are very few steps. You will need a good hour and a half to wander this small site, enjoy the plants and take photos.
There is a small museum too which is themed on the Berber peoples.
This delightful garden was created in the 1920s/30s. You can imagine te painter, Majorelle, wandering the grounds.
Do check the website for opening hours and restrictions.
If I return to Marrakech I would certainly revisit the Majorelle Gardens.
We loved Marjorelle Gardens. Please check out my travelogue for the full story. I enjoyed it because of the vibrant colours, cactus gardens, water lily pond and quaint shady paths.
The best way to get there is by horse and carriage....and we caught the hop on hop off bus back.
What I didn't know is that Yves Saint Laurent actually purchased this garden and restored it. He found the place an inspiration and refuge....and I can see why. When he died, he ashes were sprinkled in this garden and that is where his memorial is.
After the craziness of the Souks and the action of Jemaa El Fna Square a tip to the peaceful, serene gardens of Jardin Majorelle is well deserved! This small, but well maintained garden is an oasis in the desert. Jacques Majorelle, a french painter aquired the land in 1924 and begun the landscape we see today. In 1947 the gardens were opened to the public. After his death in 1962 Yves Saint Laurent aquired the property and a memorial to him can be found near the back of the garden.
When you enter the gardens you pass a peaceful fountain. As you continue through the garden you pass through a bamboo forest, a mediterannean oasis and a castus garden. The cobaly blue and yellows buildings provide a bright backdrop to the lushness of the garden.
Arrive early as this place is very popular. Entrance fees as of Sept 2011 are 40 MAD for the gardens and 25 MAD for the museum.
What strikes you immediately about these gardens are the contrasting colours. In the brilliant sunshine, the electric blues of the paving and large planters contrasted with pink pathways and bright yellow pots. The plants are amazing, huge varieties of cactii and many more.
There is a cafe and the prices are more reasonable than you would expect.
Well worth spending an hour or more here.
Jardin Majorelle was created by the French artist, Jacques Majorelle. It is now looked after by Yves Saint Laurent. It is an exotic garden in an exotic city: an odd mixture of desert cacti and tropical trees and shrubs. It is quite small and you can see it all comfortably in 20 minutes. In fact, you could walk around it four or five times in that period. There are, however, benches, where it is nice to just sit, relax and enjoy the view. Peer through the fence to the right and you will see one of the grandest private houses in the world. It is based on a traditional kasbah design. I wonder who it belongs to? Yves St. Laurent perhaps?
The Majorelle Gardens are nice and peaceful. It is in the middle of the city but once you get inside the doors of the gardens it feels like you are a million miles away. You cannot hear any of the traffic noise and it is very peaceful.
The gardens are a mix of exotic plants and flowers and you can easily stroll around them for an hour or two. This was my wifes favourite site in Marrakech as she felt that she could relax here and not have to worry about anything.
If you are in Marrakech then you must visit these gardens and appreciate the amount of work that has gone into creating them.
This beautifully laid out garden was created by French artist Jacque Majorelle in the 1920s. It was built around his studio which now houses a museum. There is also a shop and a rather expensive café. The garden is quite small but is so cleverly planned with pathways winding among the foliage, that it appears larger than it is. The garden contains bougainvilleas, palms, cacti, olive trees, bamboo, and many other plants and shrubs. The gardens were neglected after Majorelle’s death in 1962, but were revived some years later by Yves St Laurent and the artist Pierre Bergé. There is a memorial dedicated to Yves St Laurent.
This is an extraordinary place.
It was created in in the late 1940s by French painter Jacques Majorelle. Then it was owned by Yves Saint Laurent until his death in 2008, and is now held by a foundation he set up.
It has a memorial to YSL in a quiet corner.
Apparently it was a constant inspiration to him, and I can see why. It is utterly beautiful.
Well worth 30 MAD - €2.80!