Instagrammers (and anyone else with a weak spot for gardens or vibrant colours): pay attention because you’re going to LOVE this. Imagine a garden full of cacti, Moroccan water elements and plastered walls in fluorescent colours. Get the picture? Yes? Well, chances are you have seen images like this on your favourite social media feed.
This is the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco. With its unique, bold design it must be one of the most Instagrammable gardens in the world. The garden was created by French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), who worked on it for forty years. Its long shady lanes lined with cacti, palm trees, exotic plants and fountains create a serene atmosphere. If you ignore the crowds of visitors, that is. It’s no wonder that more than 850,000 tourists make their way to this 1930s residential area of Marrakesh every year, because the Jardin Majorelle is simply delightful.
On of the most eye-catching features of the garden is the Cubist villa that Majorelle commissioned to build in 1931. With its Moorish elements and intense blue and warm yellow facades it is one of the most striking buildings in Marrakesh. The vivid cobalt blue colour of the walls is so characteristic that it has even been given its own name: Majorelle blue.
Following his divorce in the 1950s, Majorelle was forced to sell the plot after which it fell into disrepair. Thirty years later, French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé saved it from demolition. Having fallen in love with the villa and garden, they decided to buy it and restore it to its former glory. While the couple spent much time living in the Cubist mansion, which they renamed Villa Oasis, they continued Majorelle’s policy of keeping most of the garden open to the public.
Today, part of the villa is a museum about Berber culture, a nomadic community that has historically lived in northern Africa. Next door, in a beautiful new building, the Yves Saint-Laurent museum opened in 2017. It celebrates the legacy of the iconic fashion designer, who held this place so dear to his heart.
A trip to Marrakesh is not complete without visiting the Jardin Majorelle. Not just for the gram, but also because of the captivating story behind this enchanting place.