Travel

Magical Marrakech: Majorelle Garden

Majorelle Gardens- Studio Majorelle Blue

A trip to Marrakech is impossible without visiting Majorelle Garden, a serene oasis inside city walls and the final resting place of Yves Saint Laurent.

To me, Marrakech is all about colour. Reds, oranges, yellows and blues. You cannot travel anywhere within Marrakech without being amazed at all the colour that surrounds you. It’s no surprise that when Jacques Majorelle made Marrakech his home in the 1920’s that he painted his studio home a vibrant blue, taking influence from all over Marrakech.

Majorelle Garden - Majorelle Painting Studio

Jacques Majorelle and I have something in common- the love of this strong, deep and intense shade of blue. The colour became so renowned with the garden that it was trademarked Bleu Majorelle shortly before his death.

A true colour explosion

The Marrakech colour scheme (as I like to call it!) is also interpreted throughout Majorelle Garden. Vivid, bright, contrasting colours perfectly matched with cacti, bamboo and water fountains in the 2.5 acre gardens tucked away in Rue Yves Saint Laurent.

Majorelle Garden - Colour Explosion

The garden was eventually open to the public in 1947 to help with the growing costs. Forty years of passion and dedication by Jacques Majorelle until his death in 1962 resulted in his greatest masterpiece featuring plants from all five continents. A staggering 300 different plant species now feature. 

Majorelle Garden - Water Lily Pond

Majorelle Garden - Palm Trees

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered Majorelle Garden in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech and fell in love with this little slice of paradise. After hearing that the garden and villa may be sold to a real estate developer in the 1980’s to be turned into a hotel complex, they bought it!

Over the years, they restored the garden in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”  They have truly delivered on this.

Majorelle Garden - Walkway

When Yves passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered within the rose garden of Villa Oasis and a memorial built within the garden. Designed around a Roman pillar which was brought from Tangier and set on a pedestal with a plate bearing his name for the public to pay their respects.

Majorelle Garden - Yves Saint Laurent Memorial

Serene and Secluded

There is a stark contrast between the hectic city medina and the garden. You are transported to an oasis inside city walls. A secret garden as such. One which I didn’t want to leave. It’s no wonder that this is the most visited “tourist” attraction in Marrakech.

Majorelle Garden - Idillic Canopy

When you enter the garden, an impressive cacti collection catches your eye in the distance. Jacques Majorelle adored cacti, respecting this, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé continued to expand the collection, which today includes about thirty members of the cactus family.

Majorelle Garden - Cacti

Majorelle Garden - Cacti overlooking fountain

Walking along admiring the cacti (and resisting the urge to touch them!) the glorious Majorelle Blue square fountain overlooking the studio is a wonderful location to soak up your surroundings.

Majorelle Garden - Cactus Close Up

Galerie Love 

Tucked away within the grounds of the garden is Galerie Love, a tiny room which houses the entire collection of Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Love Cards’. From 1970 until 2000, he created a card every year to send to his friends and clients to celebrate the New Year. Bold and colourful, he showed his appreciation with a single word- love.

Naturally, I had to hunt out the year I was born- 1982. A beautiful seascape.

Berber Museum

Majorelle’s original studio has been transformed into a museum which is dedicated to Berber culture, housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Items displayed show the diversity of Berber traditional skills – whether in wood, leather, pottery, metalwork, or basket weaving – all demonstrate the variety of craftsmanship. I was particularly enamored with all the jewels and their exquisite craftsmanship.

No matter your location whether it be the pavilion, the water-lily pool, the palm trees or en route to the museum, as soon as you hear birds chirping and the smell of exotic plants as the wind blows you’ll soon realize you are in a truly magical place and never want to leave.

Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)
Rue Yves Saint Laurent
Marrakech, Morocco
Web: jardinmajorelle.com

Opening times
October 1 – April 30: 8 am – 5:30 pm
May 1 – September 30: 8 am – 6 pm
The month of Ramadan: 9 am – 5 pm

Admission
Garden: 70 Dhs (around £5)
Museum: 30 Dhs (around £2)

Travel

Escape to the Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains - Marrakech- Winding Path

At just over an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, The Atlas Mountains transport you into another world with breathtaking views, tranquil surroundings and the undeniably friendly Berber hospitality. 

At the tail end of last year, I was whisked away to Marrakesh as a guest of the Moroccan Tourist Board to experience what this North African country has to offer. It was my first time visiting Morocco and with the country only being a 4 hour direct flight away from Glasgow, it was a no brainer location to escape the freezing temperatures. 

With a jam-packed itinerary mapping out our 4 day adventure, one stood out the most for me- The Atlas Mountains. I had heard about these mountains in the past from my father. He had previously visited Marrakech with work but was unable to visit them at the time. The downfall? A walk in the mountains, me? The panic set in. How big a walk would this be? Would I be able to cope? I’m not fit in the slightest. It’s going to be a challenge!

With equal excitement and dread, the group all bundled into our mini van for the 90 minute trip watching the bright lights of Marrakech fade away before being met with desert, cacti and Berbers along the road side with their mules and carts. 

Atlas Mountains- Marrakech- Mosque

Our destination?

We were heading for Imlil Village, 1,740 metres above sea level. Imlil Village is the main starting point for any trek on the Atlas Mountains. A quaint little village, local Berbers are accustomed to tourists from all over the world congregating in the village. Previously, the villages main source of income was agriculture but over the years, tourism has overtaken this. 

Atlas Mountains- Marrakech- Mountain Houses

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Life

9 Winter Car Tips

9 Winter Car Tips- Ananyah

As I write this, I’m currently shivering on the sofa, clutching a blanket & sipping on some peppermint tea after a mammoth session of playing in the snow with my nephew. Oh hai snow, thanks for blessing us with your presence! 

Now as much as I love looking at snow, I absolutely hate driving in it, especially when the slush starts appearing. There is nothing worse than skidding on black ice and praying that you don’t end up crashing into something.

When I was first learning to drive, I started in the winter. Some may think I was crazy but if you manage to master winter driving, you can master any scenario (well… maybe not the flash floods that we’ve seen this winter!). One driving lesson, I was travelling through a rather rough suburb and my car was hit by snowballs courtesy of a rowdy gang. I had to do an emergency stop in black ice, control the car without crashing and deal with my driving instructor screaming abuse at the gang. Oh the joys! 

Fast forward 4 years and earning the nickname Penelope Pitstop by my boyfriend, LV= got in touch to highlight 9 Winter Car Tips to ensure my car is ready for the winter season and I’m sharing them with you. 

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