A brief history of the Majorelle garden
We already know that the garden was created by Jacques Majorelle and was later maintained by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. But… How did it all start?
Jacques Majorelle was a Frenchman and an artist. In his early years, he painted a lot and he regularly went to faraway places to get inspired. After his military service he left for Morocco and eventually ended up in Marrakech. From here he traveled all over the country, making magical paintings of everything he saw. In 1923 Jacques bought his first piece of land, which would be extended to the current Majorelle garden in the coming years.
During his long and distant travels the man took many plants and flowers with him, which he placed in his magical garden. With an excellent eye for detail, he constructed beautiful bright blue outbuildings, fountains and pergolas between the plants.
After the man died, the gardens became a public property, but soon the domain began to dilapidate and the Moroccan authorities decided to sell it. Yves Saint-Laurent and his husband bought the Majorelle garden, and were responsible for the further preservation and existence of it. They modernized the gardens (with for example irrigation systems) and took on staff to expand and maintain the gardens. The Museum of Islamic Art was created by the painting studio of Mr. Majorelle, and after the death of Yves Saint-Laurent a museum was built in his honor.
What is there to see?
The highlight of these Moroccan gardens is of course the vast amount of plants, but the museum is also worth a look.
You would never expect that such a beautiful garden is hidden in a less beautiful neighborhood of Marrakech. The only thing that betrays that something amazing is waiting for you are the long lines of tourists trying to get hold of a ticket.
When you enter the small -but beautiful- entrance you are immediately overwhelmed. A path between cacti, exotic plants and many trees leads you to the first pavilion. This stone construction is connected to an elongated pond that eventually leads to the beautiful, bright blue fountain. Nearby you’ll also find a beautiful pond with water lilies, and if you pay attention you can even notice some frogs, toads and turtles. Here is also the Berber Museum: a bright blue building which you can easily stare at for hours. This construction fits perfectly together with this landscaped jungle, but is at the same time very refined and very Moroccan. During your stroll, you’ll see more than three hundred types of plants. Bamboo, cacti, palm trees, … But birds also seem to enjoy themselves here. And so a trip to the Majorelle garden is also fun for bird lovers.
The Berber Museum
In the Berber Museum you’ll find a whole range of utensils that were used by the Berbers. You become acquainted with the culture and customs of these nomads, and you learn how they live their lives. In the museum you’ll also find a very large collection of jewelery and decorations and traditional clothing and fashion items from these Berbers.
Tickets and opening times
The price for a ticket is 70 dirhams (about $8 / £5 / €6.50). If you also like to visit the museum you pay 30 dirham extra.
University students receive a better rate. For the gardens they pay 35 Dhs, for the museum 25 Dhs.
Children younger than 12, schools, tour operators and press may enter for free on presentation of a few documents.
The Majorelle garden is open every day of the year. From 1 October to 30 April you can visit the gardens from 8 am to 5:30 pm, from 1 May to 30 September until 6 pm and during Ramadan the museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Other beautiful gardens in Marrakech
The Majorelle garden is one of the most visited sights in Marrakech. Sometimes it gets very busy… But fortunately, there are also other gardens in Marrakech that are quiet. And at least as beautiful!
My personal favorite was Le Jardin Secret (the secret garden).
This Moroccan garden is located right in the medina of Marrakech. It’s very quiet here so you can enjoy this Moroccan garden much more. The first part of the garden is beautiful, but rather sober. It’s only when you walk around the corner that you see how masterfully this garden was constructed.
Sit down on the terrace below, or – if you buy an extra ticket – go on the roof terrace for a nice view of Le Jardin Secret. A ticket for both the garden and the roof terrace costs 90 dirhams or $10 / £7 / €8.
Five kilometers or three miles from the center are the Menara Gardens. These botanical gardens date back to 1130 and were laid out by some important ruler. This garden is actually surprisingly sober. A pavilion -in Moroccan style, breathtakingly beautiful!- stands along a large water basin that serves as a large mirror surface in calm weather. Olive trees and other orchards surround these monuments.
If you don’t mind getting out of Marrakech for a bit, don’t forget to visit the Anima gardens. With a free shuttle bus you’ll get here in about half an hour. Between the beautifully landscaped garden are huge sculptures and beautiful paintings. As a result, the garden really gets something magical. As if you ended up in Alice in Wonderland!
Guided tours through the gardens of Marrakech
A guided tour is always a bit more interesting than exploring a place on your own. You get to hear interesting facts, but you can also ask everything you want to ask. If you’re interested in visiting some of the gardens in Marrakech, it’s also useful to have transport to the different locations. I sure wouldn’t want to drive myself in the Moroccan capital…
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.