Home to a cactus collection but also coconut and banana trees, a cobalt-blue villa and fountain and a reflecting pond, the Majorelle Gardens in Medina are unique. The site is even more special because the estate was rescued by the famous fashion duo Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent.
Created by and named for the French Orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle, the gardens have always been a work of art. When he started out in 1923, there wasn’t much more than a palm grove on site. It took Majorelle almost four decades to landscape this unusual garden in Marrakech and perfect the villa. By the time he first opened it to the public in 1947 to raise funds for its maintenance, it had already become his life’s work.
You can’t miss the garden’s cubist villa because it of its bright blue color, a shade of cobalt that has become known as “bleu Majorelle.” The building was designed as a home for Majorelle and his wife by the French architect Paul Sinoir in the 1930s. However, the couple divorced and Majorelle was forced to sell. He even trademarked this color blue, which was already common in Morocco, perhaps to help recover some of his costs.
The famous French due Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent purchased the by-then neglected garden and villa in the 1980s to restore the complex to some of its former glory. Bergé and Saint Laurent have since passed away, so the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, a non-profit organization, now manages the complex. All the entry fees go towards the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the property.
Explore the beautiful garden and stop to smell the flowers. You can also browse the Islamic Art Museum, including some of Jacques Majorelle’s own paintings, in the former art studio and the Berber Museum in the same complex.
The Majorelle Gardens is located along the Rue Yves St. Laurent, about 10 minutes by taxi to the northwest of the medina of Marrakech.