Monday July 22nd, 2024
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Le Jardin Majorelle Houses Decades of Artistic Visions in Marrakech

From art haven of esteemed modernist painters to a coveted Yves Saint Laurent-owned tourist attraction, here is the story of Le Jardin Majorelle.

Layla Raik

Where do the early 20th century’s finest orientalist modernists go to house their most vibrant ideas untainted? The answer is weaved into the tiles of now-popular Marrakech tourist attraction, Le Jardin Majorelle, a 10-acre garden and stunning villa that invites the wandering steps of curious artists, obsessive historians and starry-eyed aesthetes alike.

Le Jardin Majorelle came to existence in 1923, when renowned French modernist painter Jacques Majorelle decided to settle down with his wife in Marrakech, Morocco’s then-budding cultural hub. What started as a 4-acre palm grove on the outskirts of the city was developed by the artist, with the help of French architect Paul Sinoir, into an intricate electric blue cubic villa that housed the artist’s studio and workshop. The artist’s home, which later went on to house designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé who dubbed it the ‘Villa Oasis’, took on a more sheltered outlook in the garden’s cradles.

Doused in a vibrant blue with Islamic green accents, the attention the villa garnered was not much of a surprise against the signature terracotta red of the city. When the visionary artist’s messy divorce led to their eventual fleeing of the site, the villa was saved by globally recognized designer Yves Saint Laurent, who ensured preservation of the garden’s cultural and artistic integrity, ensuring Majorelle’s history lived on and paid homage to the culture it sprouted amidst.

Today, Le Jardin Majorelle houses the coveted Musée Berbère, an attraction that holds centuries of Amazigh culture up to the magnifying glass of visitors. The garden has also remained a magnetic force drawing in journeyers to indulge in its eccentric desert mirages, boasting 300+ plant species collected across 5 continents. The culture-rich spot is, however, most popular for its standout architecture and the allure of its courtyard café and chic boutique. Besides, of course, the Instagrammable call to the garden-backdropped YSL memorial installed by Bergé following the designer’s death.


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