When visiting Marrakech, you have to go and check out Le Jardin Majorelle. The beautiful gardens, which span around 9000 square meters, are an enchanting spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the medina for a few hours.
As well as gorgeous gardens, there is a Berber culture museum, a small gallery and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The museum is all about his work and the inspiration he found whilst living in Marrakech in the grounds of the garden in a beautiful multicoloured villa.
Getting to Le Jardin Majorelle
Most people seemed to be arriving either in organised tour groups on one of their sightseeing stops, or in taxis. Taxis are not too expensive in Marrakech, so not a bad way to travel. Just make sure you agree a price before you begin your trip.
However, I would recommend walking to Le Jardin Majorelle. If you are interested in seeing more of the culture of the city, it is a good opportunity. As intrepid explores we prefer to walk if it is possible distance and time wise. The gardens are about a 20 minute walk from the medina.
We went on our walk with the pre-downloaded maps.me Marrakech app all ready for our walk. Of course, encountered the classic ‘you can’t go down that road it is closed for prayer time’ gambit. We aren’t sure if this was true as people including tourists were going down the road we wanted it seemed. But, we decided to go around a longer way to avoid hassle. The walk took us on a rather extensive detour in the heat without any water left.
On the other hand we were walking through the genuine local markets selling essentials like food and clothing to Moroccan people rather than the souks peddling their wares mainly to tourists. It was a very different vibe to the souks and we only saw a few other tourists on the route so was cool to be immersed in the real Marrakech if you will seeing how people lived for a bit.
On the way back we walked up the road we had initially wanted, which was much quicker.
Entry to Le Jardin Majorelle and the YSL museum
So to get into the gardens and the museum you have to queue for a ticket. We arrived at around 11, and queued for about half an hour. The later in the day you go the longer the queue is apparently. So if you want to beat the crowds for a little more peace and quiet or empty instagram backgrounds, you need to get up bright and early. There are two queues and I am honestly not sure how they managed to move so slowly. They at least provide umbrellas for a portion of the queue so you aren’t caught in the blistering sun. I would recommend having water and suncream on hand though!
Tickets for non-citizens/residents for the garden are 70 Diram, and for the Museum it is 100 Dirham.
The gardens are open from 8-5.30 most days, however this is reduced from 9-4.30 during Ramadan. So have that in mind if you are visiting during this holy period. The museum opens 10-6, or until 5 during Ramadan.
More info can be found on their website here.
Le Jardin Majorelle’s beauty
Walking into the gardens I was amazed by how beautiful the colours were. Everything is so bright, with railings and fences and the small buildings all painted in matching mint green, royal blue and sunshine yellow.
Once you make it in past the crowds there is a a small villa. Everyone was their photo taken on the staircase or in front of the brightly coloured doors, an instagram paradise.
All around there are amazing varieties of cactus and palm trees, which always make me feel like I am somewhere really exotic, and in this case I truly was. Astoundingly there are over 2 acres of botanical garden here. They were originally designed by Jacques Majorelle. He was a french artist, and bought and subsequently restored by Saint Laurent and his partner, who lived there in the eighties.
There are hundreds of different species of plants, including citrus fruit trees, bamboo groves and water lilies. The is also lots of wildlife in the various ponds such as tiny frogs and giant koi carp.
I am no expert in horticulture, so I will let the photographs we captured really do the talking for me in this post. I cannot seek to do the rich hues of colour, striking cubist architecture and incredible collection of plants justice…
It is a really beautiful place to go and lose yourself, with plenty of stunning trees. The sweeping leaves cast their delightful shade to offer you some respite from the heat of the Marrakech sun.
There is also a small gallery displaying some YSL art work, centred on the theme of Love when we were there. It was immaculately presented. The site also hosts little bookstore, with books about the original owner of the site, Majorelle, plus Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge.
Visitors are not able to go into the villa where Saint Laurent lived, however you can take photographs and visit the memorial where his ashes reside.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
After visiting the Christian Dior exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last year, I had high hopes for this museum.
We of course stopped at the famous entrance way, where you see many instagrammers taking their pictures to pay homage to the designer. Probably with their YSL clutch in tow. Had to get our own pictures of course, and it was pleasantly not too busy and we didn’t have to wait.
As you enter, there is whichever temporary exhibit is currently on display. This was a display of artworks from a French artist, Jaques Azema, who came to Morocco in the 1930s, when we were there. I won’t pretend I know anything at all about art so I will spare you that but it was a good size exhibition full of paintings with french and english explainers.
The main exhibition hall contained examples of Saint Laurent’s work across the years, with a timeline and a collection of full, iconic outfits and cases of glittering accessories to view. There are around 50 garments on show which have roots in exploration and outdoors amongst other themes. I have always liked fashion and really enjoyed looking at all the different styles, and was a little disappointed in all honesty about how short the experience was. You also aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the exhibit sadly. I was expecting more things to look at really, it felt like it ran out too soon!
Luckily there is also the theatre, which plays a short piece on Saint Laurent’s life both on the runway and off. This shows many iconic styles and was a lovely piece to watch.
For those who wish there is another bookstore to visit and a very nice looking cafe. It also has probably the fanciest toilets we came across in Morocco.
The gardens were the highlight of this stop for me, the colours were so beautiful and they just went on and on I could have wandered in Le Jardin Majorelle for hours.