When we first planned a visit to Marrakech, we certainly hadn’t expected to spend a day at a cactus garden owned by Yves Saint Laurent, the French courtier.
Our friends, John and Angela, agreed to walk with us from our Riad in Marrakech’s old city to visit Jardin Majorelle, our garden destination, in the new city.
We started off in the right direction (confidently) through the labyrinthine alleyways, but then we took a wrong turn. Soon, John remarked, “No sign of other tourists,” and we were just so far into the maze that we could see no way to retrace our steps. Two nice people came to our aid (for 15 dirham), and we discovered we weren’t far off course at all, but miraculously close to the old gate leaving the walled part of the city. In 15 more minutes of walking, we arrived at Jardin Majorelle.
Owner Jacques Majorelle, a French painter, planted the garden in 1924. In 1947, the public began visiting the garden. Twenty years later the garden continued to welcome visitors by its new owners, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who restored the garden. Today a foundation bearing their names continues the tradition.
When along the way did the signature qualities of the garden – color and cactus – become established?
Large pots, painted in bold colors, lined the paths
The IKB (International Klein Blue) color graces the arbor next to the water lily pond and some of the buildings.
Cactus thrives in the garden.
Some cactus were familiar from our trips in the southwest US desert.
Other cactus we’d never seen before.
Birds flittered about the garden, chattering and calling. We think this is a common bulbul.
In the quietest corner of the garden we found a simple memorial to Yves Saint Laurent.
Our visit to Jardin Majorelle took an entire, enjoyable day – with our round trip walk, slowly touring the garden, a much-needed visit to its café, time studying the displays at the Musée Berbere on the premises, and finally a trip to the gift shop. Majorelle, Saint Laurent, and Bergé have given Marrakech and us tourists an artful garden refuge and welcome introduction to Berber culture. We’d recommend adding this one to your “to-do” list.