Jardine Majorelle - high-fashion cacti in Yves Saint Laurent's private paradise. What a way to start your encounter with Marrakech! Jardin Majorelle was in my top 5 things to do anyway, so it was even better when our hotel's porter gave us complimentary admission tickets to this garden. Anywhere you go in Marrakech, it's worth taking a taxi.
Prices are only 30 or even 20dh per ride (2 or 3 euros/ £). You will know the garden is close when you smell horse pee in the air – horse carriages offering a tourist ride are literally everywhere. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a guide! You seriously don’t need one in here.
The garden was founded in 1920s by the landscape painter Jacques Majorelle. He was into rare plants big time, so he needed a garden to accommodate his collection. So he built an Art Deco villa and painted everything, including garden walls, into vivid colors of yellow and blue. Honestly, the brightest thing in town!
In 1960s iconic French designer Yves Saint Laurent bought the place, seeking refuge from his native country- obligatory Military service wasn’t in his plans. He also attracted a lot of unwanted attention by acknowledging being gay, which apparently was unheard of back then. So him and his lover/business partner Pierre Bergere retreated to Marrakech.
Curved paths will take you through the cacti beds and in between of sky high palm trees. Fuchsia will attract your Lomo like a magnet, so will bright yellow terracotta flower pots and mosaic ornaments on the walls.
There is a small memorial to the great designer hidden in the middle of the park; a pond with gold fishes; lazy turtles wandering around and reflective pools.
Lots of people seems to spend the whole day here, sunbathing or enjoying snacks at the cafeteria.
The Art Deco Villa is a Museum of Islamic Art now (entrance is extra 20dh.). Saint Laurent presented the city of Marrakech with both gardens and the villa as an appreciation for adopting him.