Yves Saint Laurent so loved the garden he restored with Pierre Berge here in Marrakech that he requested that his ashed be scattered there when he died. Walking through the Jardin de Majorelle today, with its intense flashes of Yves Klein blue, otherworldly cacti, succulents and bamboo groves, and its air of secret repose, it was easy to understand how the garden became his passion.
Although the gardens are most closely connected with YSL, they are named for their creator, the painter Jacques Majorelle, who settled in Marrakech in 1916, and acquired the land which would become the Majorelle garden.
In 1947 Jacques Majorelle opened the garden to the public, but following a car accident, he returned to France, where he died in 1962. in 1980 Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent purchased the overgrown garden and began the lengthy – and expensive – process of restoration.
The gardens are easy to visit from both the Medina and Gueliz. Our petit taxi cost 30 dirhams (£2.15) from the Khoutoubia Mosque and 60d to get back (captive audience). Entrance is 25d. It doesn’t take long to walk around the gardens, but we spent quite some time sitting on benches and just looking and listening to the birdsong.
There is a pretty courtyard cafe, which serves simple sandwiches & salads, and a lovely shop, selling very covetable, very chic and very expensive gifts – think Loulou de la Falaise jewellery exclusive to the Jardin, and Liberty print babouches and kaftans.
Outside the gates is another great cafe-restaurant, and a series of design stores and a perfumerie, all selling Moroccan-made products with a 21st century twist, all of which are worth a look.