Friday, 15th November 2019
Matilda had identified the eponymous Art Deco Jardin Majorelle as today’s “must do” visit and became quite excited when Robert suggested catching the Marrakech hop on hop off bus as the means of getting there. There was a convenient stop outside our hotel, opposite the Menara Mall.
Although many cities have them, Robert will never normally contemplate these hop on hop off buses. However, in Marrakech one ticket provides multiple trips on two different routes – a red “historic” route and a green “oasis” route – over a 48 hour period and the green route finishes at the Jardin Majorelle. Initially we took the red historic route, past the Koutoubia Mosque . . .
. . . and Bab Agnaou which once marked the main entrance to the Almohad Palace.
The red and the green routes converge at stop number one and we changed here onto the green route which is more rural and offers views of the hills to the north of Marrakech . . .
. . . and hilltop fortifications.
We were told when we got on our first bus that two out of three buses on the red route had audio commentary but unfortunately not the one we had just boarded. The bus we boarded next turned out to be one of the two buses on the green route which also had no audio commentary so we were reliant on our bus map and Google Maps to identify some of the sights we were passing including the Mohammad VI Museum for Water Civilisation in Morocco [below].
The terrain was more arid . . .
. . . and the stops include places where you can hop off for a quad bike experience or a camel ride In the dunes . . .
. . . or simply a selfie opportunity with a dromedary.
The end of the green route takes you back into the city to the Jardin Majorelle.
The garden was originally planted by Jacques Majorelle (1886 – 1962), a French painter who fell in love with Morocco and created this inspirational horticultural sanctuary, including exotic and rare plants, around his working studio.
The Art Deco Villa Majorelle at the heart of the garden is painted bright yellow and a distinctive cobalt blue known as Majorelle blue . . .
. . . which is also used on other features and ornaments in the gardens.
We later discovered that you can buy tins of the paint in the shop here as well as incredibly soft leather goods at equally incredible prices.
In 1980 Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé acquired the land to safeguard it from developers, and restored the gardens, introducing new planting schemes. There is a memorial to the fashion designer in the grounds.
After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, Pierre Bergé donated the gardens to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent to preserve them.
The foundation also funded the Museé Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech adjacent to the gardens, which opened in 2017, displaying his iconic fashion designs and which Matilda, unfortunately, could not persuade Robert to visit.
The gardens include water features and shady avenues of bamboo as well as arid planting.
From here we were able to walk to a bus stop on the red route to take us back to our hotel and Robert’s route took us conveniently close to the Sky Bar which is . . .
. . . allegedly “on the top of Marrakech” . . .
. . . with views across to the Atlas Mountains.
Sitting on the top deck on the journey back felt a little like going back to school days.
We opted to take a walk away from the hotel to find somewhere to eat and found Bar 6, a welcoming restaurant which served beer as well as tasty food and Lucky, one of the two resident felines, chose to sit on the chair next to Matilda. As she felt chosen, she had to reward him with a few pieces of her cod (see Dish of the day).