The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

October 25, 2018
The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

...I’ve got a case of the Majorelle blues...


THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 7 of 10: JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH


If roses say “I love you”, does cacti snarl “Stay far away!”...? Forget everything you think you know about the language of flowers. Jardin Majorelle, Yves Saint Laurent’s love letter to Marrakech, subverts the trope with his evergreen tribute to the Moroccan city that adopted him.


JARDIN MAJORELLE
MUCH MOROCCO 

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored


The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored






“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.” 
- JACQUES MAJORELLE

A labour of love, nearly lost. What began as a passion project by the acclaimed French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) would eventually become his magnus opus, surpasing even his famous portraits and paintings of Moroccan street life. Jacques Majorelle first painted the facade of his studio in what is now known as “Majorelle Blue” - an intense ultramarine inspired by the Atlas Mountains, intended to “evoke Africa”. Majorelle Blue then spread to the gates, the pergolas, and the pots; turning the entire property into a monochrome vision. Likewise, his garden grew: Majorelle would bring from his travels plants from five different continents. The amateur botanist would become a master gardener; acquiring hundreds of rare varieties of flora: cacti, palms, bamboo, white water lilies, and bougainvilleas; to name a few. The result, arranged along a long central basin and acres of meandering walkways, would be an exotic and otherworldy vision, a “cathedral of shapes and colours”.

It would take Majorelle forty years to create his living masterpiece, but far less time for a series of personal tragedies (accidents, financial difficulty, abrupt passings) to very nearly destroy one of Marrakech's most-loved and iconic sites.


“When we heard that the garden was to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did everything we could to stop that from happening. This is how we eventually became owners of the garden and of the villa.” 
- PIERRE BERGE & YVES SAINT LAURENT

Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre BergĂ©, bought the villa and the garden in 1980. The restoration of Jardin Majorelle was done with the upmost respect to the vision of Jacques Majorelle. A team of 20 gardeners were brought in to mantain the property, new plant species were added (more than doubling the total number from 135 to 300), and Majorelle’s studio was transformed into a public museum dedicated to Berber culture. After Saint Laurent’s death in 2008, Berge donated  Jardin Majorelle to their foundation in Paris. Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in the rose garden. A poignant resting place for the designer who resurrected Jardin Majorelle so that it would live on to inspire others as it did him. In his honour, the street in front of the Jardin’s entrance was renamed Rue Yves Saint Laurent.

Jardin Majorelle is one of Marrakech’s most-visited destinations, and a must-visit for anyone in town. To truly experience the tranquility it was designed to inspire, arrive as soon as it opens (8:00am) to enjoy the place before it gets too busy. Take refuge from the heat and the crowds in the Berber Museum, galleries, boutique, and cafe.




The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

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