No trip to Marrakesh is complete without a visit to these famed gardens, initially created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle, and then later purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980 to save the gardens from redevelopment. After Yves Saint Laurent’s death in 2008, the gardens were donated by Pierre Bergé to the YSL charitable foundation. On November 27, 2010, the street in front of the Jardin Majorelle’s entrance was renamed the Rue Yves Saint Laurent in his honour.
The famous Majorelle blue and vivid lemon colours dots the site, and the selection of cacti, palms, bamboo and exotic plants creates a shady oasis in the heart of the business of the city. Water creates reflections and sounds, and it is a garden to sit and while away the hours in contemplation.
I first visited these gardens in 2007, when I was a bit disappointed at the time if truth be told, the gardens seemed shabby back then and had graffiti scratched into all the bamboo canes by eager tourists. Then last week I revisited them, and they have been transformed, along with an amazing museum set inside the original house.
The area near the former Art studio, which now is a new museum of Berber Art opened in 2010, has wonderful ponds and terraces in vivid blue and yellow colours.
You cannot avoid the fact that there are a lot of carpets and rugs in this country… They hang all over the souks in the Medina in Marrakesh, and each one seems different in pattern, colour and style. I spent some time at one carpet shop where the sheer amount of carpets was astounding, and it was just one of hundreds in the city and surrounding area. Rugs were stacked floor to ceiling through the whole building, and even hung on the roof.
Types of carpet
Moroccan carpets can be grouped into rural or urban, Berber or Arab. Urban carpets are influenced by the fine, oriental designs of the Middle East and are intricately detailed.
Rural Berber carpets are handwoven into abstract patterns and symbols that tell the stories of a tribe. Carpets from the Middle Atlas – zanafi – have a deep, woollen pile to keep out the cold and are usually long and narrow.
Last night in this exotic city, and after a ride home in a Caleche it is time to share some lovely photographs of the palaces and museums that I visited today.
Starting at the Dar Si Said palace, I saw amazing painted ceilings, carved plaster and mosaic work . This place is not for people who do not like symmetry! The museum is in a bit of a bad way, with some floors missing tiles and crumbling. Some western conservation would not go amiss so that preservation and conservation rather than replacement happens.
However the museum staff were lovely and let us peek at the out of bounds harem’s courtyard as a treat. They were very proud of the museum and gave us lots of information, which my schoolgirl french just about managed to intepret.
I have just returned from a break in Marrakesh, one of my most favourite places, where I spent a few days wandering the souks and Medina and taking a lot of photographs of the Islamic and Moorish architecture.
By chance, I found the most wonderful shop buried deep in the Medina where they sell only tassels. Every size, colour, type and style was catered for. Materials were mainly silk but they had some very cool leather ones as well which I have not seen before. The owner was lovely, and can make me some to my size specifications and ship them to me.
I usually only use tassels for either curtains or as key tassels, but these got me wondering what else they can be used for? I found these ones used as lights which are quite different: