My dear friend and blogging sister, Ann Christin@LEYA visited Marrakech in the early autumn this year and she missed out on visiting the garden, because somebody had given her the information that it was closed, so I had to promise her to visit it for her. So I dedicate this post first of all to Ann Christin.
Jacques Majorelle (1886 -1962)son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle, was a French painter. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later at the Académie Julian in Paris with Schommer and Royer.
In 1919 he went to Marrakech, Morocco to recover from heart problems. He returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries.
His greatest work of art is said to be the Majorelle Garden, which he created in 1924. A special colour of blue, which he used extensively in the garden, is named after him – Majorelle Blue. The garden has been open to the public since 1947. It took Majorelle forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”.
Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech and in 1980 they bought it and saved it from falling victim to a real estate project and becoming a hotel complex.
The new owners decided to live in the Villa Bou Saf Saf, which they renamed Villa Oasis, and undertook the restoration of the garden in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”
Pierre Bergé is a French industrialist and patron. Bergé met Saint Laurent in 1958. They became romantically involved and together launched Yves Saint Laurent Couture House in 1961. The couple split amicably in 1976 and remained lifelong friends and business partners. A few days before Saint Laurent died in 2008, he and Bergé were joined in a same-sex civil union.
The painter’s studio has been transformed into a museum open to the public, dedicated to Berber culture, I never visited the museum.
New plant species have been added since 1999, increasing the total number from 135 to 300. A team of 20 gardeners once again began working to maintain the garden, its ponds and fountains.
Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 and his ashes were scattered there. After Saint Laurent’s death, donated Bergé the Jardin Majorelle and the Villa Oasis to the foundation in Paris which bears both their names. Saint Laurent was never told that he had a brain cancer until the end because of Bergé had the belief that Yves would not have been strong enough to accept that.
Even if my hours in the garden was off the season, it was busy … and I were able to find some flower in with all the greenery but not many. I visit first during my full day guided tour that I took the first day, but I only got 45 min .. so I decided to go back.
So I went back a couple of days later (Sunday) after breakfast and it was a good choice because when I left around 1.30pm the queues was around the block. I also chose the morning because of the light, in the middle of the day the sun is far too strong to get good images.
So glad I went back otherwise I had missed the YSL shop that was a bit hidden behind the beautiful Villa Oasis. I wasn’t able to buy anything .. I would have bought one of the colourful bracelets, but couldn’t get it on, my hand is too wide. There is also a bookstore.
Today they are working on YSL museum in conjunction with the garden, it will be ready in 2107 and also Rue Yves Saint Laurent that leads up to the garden and the museum is undergoing a major facelift and going to be a beautiful “boulevard” for when the museum is ready.
Jardin Majorelle is a true sanctuary in the new part of Marrakech, the birds are singing and even if there are many visitors … the garden embrace you like you are the only one there.
I don’t know how many images I have collected from the garden, but it doesn’t matter how many there is no way I can make the garden justice. It has to be seen and enjoyed. But I have tried my best here.
YSL is the designer that has been closest to my heart and in the days when I made all my own clothes, I made many copies from his creations.
While I was haveing a nice cafe au lait at the cafe under the orange trees, in the tree just next to me (so close that I could have touched it) … there was a little bird singing his heart out. Somehow I got the feeling that it was specially sent to me from Yves. It became a very special moment for me.
“I remember your first collection under your name
and the tears at the end.
Then the years passed.
Oh, how they passed quickly.
The divorce was inevitable
but the love never stopped.”
(Pierre Bergé’s farewell to Yves Saint Laurent)
I decate the most beautiful French song composed by Charles Dumont in 1955 … Edit Piaf’s ” Non, je ne regrette rien” – No, I don’t regret anything – to first of all Yves Saint Laurent … and my days in Marrakech. I’m sure that YSL didn’t regret much of his life and neither do I.