One of the top attractions in Marrakech is Jardin Majorelle – a sanctuary of succulents, cacti, and palms developed over decades.
This intricate garden in Marrakech was developed over 40 years by French artist Jacques Majorelle. Majorelle was a painter with a passion for botany. He cultivated 135 species of plants in the garden outside of his villa studio, creating a beautiful oasis.
“This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.”
The garden was opened to the public in 1947. Unfortunately, after Majorelle’s death in 1961 the garden was essentially abandoned.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin in 1980, saving the property from being transformed into real estate. They restored the garden whilst “respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.” They also expanded the garden to now feature 300 species of plants.
“The painter has the modesty to regard this enclosure of floral verdure as his most beautiful work.”
Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in the rose garden in Jardin Majorelle after he passed. There is a memorial for both Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé within the garden. Pierre Bergé donated the garden to their foundation after YSL’s death.
Le Musée Berbere
The former painter’s studio is now The Berber Museum, featuring Berber or Amazigh culture and artifacts. This museum is an absolute must-visit! I was especially excited to visit this because my future Mother-in-law is Berber! However, this is a must-see for everyone. Be careful – you might miss the entrance if you’re not looking! It is the doorway to my right in the following picture:
The collection from Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé showcases stunning Berber jewelry and traditional dress, as well as tools and cultural artifacts. The museum provides history of these native North Africans and their culture. Berber is actually one of the oldest languages still spoken today!
“Since my arrival in Marrakech in 1966, I have remained fascinated by Berber art and culture. Over the years, I have collected and admired this art which extends over many countries at the same time.
The Berbers have always been rightly proud of their culture, and have not ceased to reclaim their identity in spite of the vicissitudes they have faced. In Marrakech, in Berber country, in the Jardin Majorelle, which was created by an artist who painted so many scenes of Berber men and women, the idea of this museum occurred to us quite naturally.”
Just beside the garden also sits the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Note: this museum is closed on Wednesdays. I did not visit this museum, but it is also supposed to be great.
Have you heard about these gardens and museums?! Please share!