Tranquility and Splendor at the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech

Designed in the 1920s and 1930s by expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), the Majorelle Garden is located in the heart of Marrakech and is one of the most visited attractions in the city. Covering an area of twelve-acres, the botanical garden features pathways, ponds, fountains and a wide variety of plants, set against the vivid cobalt blue painted surfaces of architectural monuments, pots and pathway edgings. It is an oasis of greenery and tranquility that is well worth visiting when in Marrakech.

Born in the city of Nancy, France, in 1886, Jacques Majorelle was raised in an artistic environment. After studying architecture for three years, Majorelle decided to follow his passion and devote his life to art. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nancy before traveling to Spain, Italy, Britain and Eqypt, where the various cultures he encountered influenced his artistic preferences. In 1917 he arrived in Morocco where he settled with his wife in a small house in the Marrakech medina near the iconic Djemaa el Fna and started painting, inspired by the vibrant culture of the city. In 1923 he bought a plot of land at the edge of a palm grove and named it Bou Saf Saf. It was on this property that he built a Moorish style home and workshop. Having a great interest in botany, Majorelle started to develop a garden around his home, adding new varieties of plants from distant locations.

The garden was opened to the public in 1947 and today visitors to the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech can enjoy the years of work put into developing this oasis in the bustling city of Marrakech. A more recent feature of the garden is the Berber Museum, opened on March 9, 2011 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The opening of the museum holds special significance in light of the fact that the new Moroccan Constitution, adopted in July 2011, officially recognizes the Amazigh language. The museum offers an introduction to the Berber culture, with exhibitions including Domestic Life Skills, Ornaments and Jewelry, and Costumes and Pageantry.

In 1980, ownership of the garden passed to Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and is currently run by the Foundation Jardin Majorelle, dedicated to safeguarding the ecological, cultural and historical elements of this popular attraction in Morocco.