The word oasis is often used in a figurative sense, but in the case of the Majorelle garden the literality of the term is absolute: the thick Indigo colored walls that enclose this village and its garden of 9,000 square meters populated by cactus, palm trees and succulent plants between ponds, offer the visitor an unusual serene and refreshing shelter to disconnect from the sometimes overflowing bustle of Marrakech’s souk. A magical corner and great beauty that has become a must stop for those who approach the ancient Moroccan imperial city.
Palm trees, cactus and aquatic plants create a refreshing and magic beauty environment.
It is not surprising that Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and his couple Pierre Bergé fell in love with this place when they discovered it in 1966 in the first of his trips to Marrakech. The Majorelle gardens owe their name to the artist Jacques Majorelle, who in 1922 acquired a palm trees at the edge of the Palmeral de Marrakech, when that part of Morocco was a French protectorate. In 1931, the artist commissioned the architect Paul Sinoir the construction of a villa in Art Deco style with Moriscas reminiscence, around which he created a lush garden. The complex would acquire its definitive aspect in 1937 when Majorelle painted it with an intense blue color created exclusively by him, the blue Majorelle.
The gardens offer a refuge of tranquility in front of the bustling chaos of neighboring Marrakech Medina.
By the time YSL and Pierre Bergé saw the place for the first time, the Majorelle Garden had begun to enter in decadence due to the disappearance of Jacques Majorelle in 1962. Successive visits did nothing but delve into the passion of the couple for the site. That is why, in 1980, before the possibility that it ended up becoming a hotel that distorted its design, they decided to acquire it and make it a place of retirement and inspiration.
They worked with the American landscaper Madison Cox, very close to both, to recondition the place respecting the original essence of the Villa. They renamed the chalet as Villa Oasis and converted it into the favorite place of Saint Laurent to design his collections. The designer used to say that he had discovered the power of color in Marrakech thanks to Majorelle, as he previously designed only black and white.
“For many years I have found in the garden Majorelle an inexhaustible source of inspiration, and I have often dreamed of their unique colors,” he said.
After the disappearance of the couple (YSL died in 2008, and Pierre Bergé in 2017), the Majorelle Garden opened to the audience, just like the blue Casona Art Deco style that Bergé transformed into the Museum of Berber History in homage to the Northern autochthonous ethnic groups from Africa. There is a collection of artifacts, jewelry and tribal costumes along with some Saint Laurent and Bergé personal works.