Do you like gardens? I like gardens but I can’t really claim a green thumb. I can barely keep even succulents alive! Despite that (or maybe because of that), I appreciate how much work goes into a beautiful garden. This is why I was happy to check out Majorelle Gardens on my visit to Marrakesh. Unfortunately, it didn’t go all that well…
What Are the Majorelle Gardens?
The two and half acre botanical garden in Marrakesh was created by Jacques Majorelle, a French Orientalist artist. It took him almost forty years to complete the gardens. He started them in 1923 and included a Cubist villa designed by Paul Sinoir, a French architect. Majorelle died in the 1960s and the gardens fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, the property was purchased and restored by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, both fashion designers. Today the property is open to visitors – here, you can check out the gardens, the Berber Museum, a collection of Majorelle’s paintings, and the artwork of Yves Saint-Laurent.
Visiting the Majorelle Gardens
Bottom line up front: I did not enjoy this place. I was there mid-morning in late April, and it was already crawling with tourists. One expects a visit to botanical gardens to be peaceful and this was definitely not that. Worse, everybody was trying to get their perfect Instagram photo so there was an appalling lack of situational awareness all around. On top of that, the gardens were….meh. There were landscaped plants and flowers, various types of cacti, a koi pond, a lily pond, and a small memorial to Yves Saint-Laurent (a Roman pillar from Tangier). It really isn’t anything special if you’ve seen botanical gardens elsewhere. There were lots of places at which one could sit, admire the plants, and listen to trickling water or delicate birdsong. But as I said, the crush of people meant serenity was non-existent.
If you have the time, there is also the Berber Museum now housed in the property’s villa. The building is beautiful, painted in the strong “Majorelle blue”. But keep in mind that your gardens ticket does not include museum entrance and the line to get into the museum can be extremely long (it was when I got there). Unfortunately, I was not able to see the museum as I was on a tight timeline. TIP: If you do want to check out this museum, you need to buy the ticket in the bookshop before joining the museum’s line. That is definitely not made clear to you there.
Do I recommend Majorelle Gardens?
If you have an intense love of botanical gardens and a high tolerance for people, then sure, why not visit Majorelle Gardens. But quite frankly, I would only go if you have nothing else to do or if someone could somehow guarantee the people numbers would be low.
Hours: Open every day. See website for specific hours.
Price of admission: At the time of writing, cost is 70dh per person for the gardens and an additional 30dh for the museum.