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La Mamounia, Marrakech, and the Jardin Majorelle

James Andrew at La Mamounia

James Andrew at La Mamounia - photo Gabriel Everett

As one might imagine, there quite a few must-sees in Marrakech, but for those YSL fans out there, the magnificent Jardin Majorelle ranks quite high amongst them. Jardin Majorelle is a beautiful twelve acre botanical garden surrounding French painter Jacques Majorelle’s splendid 1931 Art deco style villa and workshop. The garden is host to numerous nesting birds and countless exotic and rare plantings from around the world, all set beautifully amongst cooling water features, painted pathways, and an assortment of garden follies. In 1937 Majorelle created a wildly high-chroma ultramarine blue: now known as Majorelle blue (predating International Klein Blue, IKB, by a couple of decades), and used it throughout his property and garden, transforming all into a “living tableau” (an apt description from the Fondation PB-YSL website) which he opened to the public in 1947.

Majorelle died in 1962, and the garden fell into a state of neglect until in 1980 Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent acquired the property (saving it from near destruction at the hands of developers). They lovingly restored the gardens, bringing in the brilliant designer Bill Willis to create an entrance courtyard, gift shop, and cafe, as well as a delightful Berber museum.

James Andrew at Jardin Majorelle - photo Gabriel Everett

James Andrew at Jardin Majorelle - photo Gabriel Everett

Happily for us, the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent now continues the rather monumental task of tending and preserving this evolving masterpiece. On your visit, be sure to take a break at the super chic courtyard Café Bousafsaf, and then perhaps peruse the Boutique Majorelle and Museum Book shop. We picked up Pierre Bergé’s book “Une Passion Marocain” as well as a book on the legendary interior designer Bill Willis.

An interesting related note: In the 1920′s Majorelle decorated part of La Mamounia, the Majorelle Gallery, which remains a vestige to the past and showcases the brilliance of this artist.

In Memorium Yves Saint Laurent

In Memorium Yves Saint Laurent

Several spectacular internal courtyards decorated with a mix of gebs, zelliges and marble, and either a fabulous fountain or a central reflecting pool, evoke a sense of the former Moroccan riad that La Mamounia Hotel was built upon (top photo). They are little havens, providing a serene place to reflect on the moment, and to appreciate the experience of being in Marrakech. After paying homage to the great Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle, one of La Mamounia’s courtyards served as as a backdrop for today’s post, and a quiet spot to recollect YSL’s great achievements and lifestyle. In tribute, I’m wearing a Yves Saint Laurent white cotton voile tunic with a silk braided trim, Uniqlo white cotton slim cargo pant and Tom Ford “Cyrille” sunglasses and brown leather sandals, vintage Rolex watch and my fragrance is Creed Orange Spice.

5 Comments

  1. Roland Lewis says:

    Thank you for the inspiring visit to La Mamounia, and insights into Marrakech. I’ve enjoyed traveling throughout Turkey recently but will look forward to revisiting La Momounia and Morocco. What a pleasure to see the world through your eyes. You’re the epitome of style James.

  2. Dean says:

    So beautiful James

  3. francisco says:

    thank you!

  4. James Andrew says:

    Dear Roland,

    I have also enjoyed Istanbul,another mysterious magical city.

    It gives me great pleasure to share this magical journey.

    Cheers and Many Thanks

    JA

  5. Richard M says:

    Dear James, You may be interested to hear a little anecdote from Jacques Grange. When YSL was renovating the garden and decided to paint certain features blue, he found the Majorelle blue not to his liking, not strong enough. The blue you see today is the YSL beefed up version.
    Cheers, R

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